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Surgeons develop simpler way to cure atrial fibrillation

llation, yet takes one-third the time to perform.

"The older Cox-maze procedure was a very complicated operation, and very few surgeons were willing to do it," Damiano says. "So we started working on new technology and helped develop an effective ablation device that simplifies the procedure. Not only is Cox-maze IV shorter, but with the new device the procedure is also much safer because there's a much lower risk of bleeding."

Atrial fibrillation affects more than 2.2 million people in the United States and can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance and palpitations. Compared to those without atrial fibrillation, those with the disorder are five times more likely to suffer from stroke and have up to a two-fold higher risk of death. For some patients, medications can control the abnormal heart rhythms and the risk of clotting associated with atrial fibrillation, but unlike the Cox-maze procedure, the drugs do not cure the disorder.

Damiano says their most recent study of Cox-maze IV is unique because the surgeons carefully matched the age, sex and cardiac conditions of a group of patients who underwent Cox-maze III in the past with patients undergoing Cox-maze IV. "This is the first documentation of the effectiveness of the ablation devices compared to the incisions of the Cox-maze III," Damiano says. "This operation is very effective, and we now use the Cox-maze IV technique exclusively."
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Source:Washington University School of Medicine


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