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The Hindu
The Hindu
Special Correspondent

Patients with abnormally rapid heartbeat undergo new procedure at Chennai hospital

Four persons with atrial fibrillation recently underwent a novel procedure at Apollo Hospitals.

The patients were treated using cryo balloon ablation, a therapy offered in developed nations for a decade but introduced in India six months ago, said A.M. Karthigesan, senior consultant cardiologist and electrophysiologist, at Apollo Hospital.

The patients were diagnosed with abnormally high rate of heartbeat. “The progressive disorder, known as atrial fibrillation, worsens and becomes a permanent condition in almost 50% of those who develop it, leading to stroke as a random problem,” he explained.

When the speed of heart beat increases from the normal 70-80 beats per minute, blood, instead of emptying into the chamber, stagnates and clots. These clots can travel to the brain and cause stroke, Dr. Karthigesan said.

Until recently, radio frequency energy was used to treat the arrhythmic condition. “When we were students, the only treatment for this was medical treatment with less than 40% success rate. Expensive drugs came with a lot of side effects because of which many patients could not continue the treatment after a few years. The side effects increased mortality whereas cryo balloon ablation therapy has a success rate of 80%,” he said.

The therapy involves introducing high pressure liquid nitric oxide through a balloon into the atrial chamber to stun the tissues that come in contact with the oxide as it falls to -50 degrees. The condition is thus treated.

By starting treatment early, the dosage of medication could be reduced and help the patients lead a quality life, the specialist said. It also drastically reduced the chances of stroke.

Suneeta Reddy, managing director of Apollo Hospitals, said the attention to details that the hospital practised made every patient count. “We are not losing the focus on small things. It is the attention to details and the smaller things that can save human life and give them longer survivorship. India is home to 25% of cardiac cases and 1% of the patients suffers from heart failure. At Apollo Hospital, we care for every life,” she added.

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