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New targeting technology improves outcomes for patients with atrial fibrillation
Date:7/18/2012

In a landmark study of atrial fibrillation, researchers from UCLA, UC San Diego and Indiana University report having found for the first time that these irregular heart rhythms are caused by small electrical sources within the heart, in the form of electrical spinning tops ("rotors") or focal beats.

Importantly, they found a way of detecting these key electrical sources and of shutting them down in minutes using a precisely targeted therapy with long-lasting results.

The team, which included cardiologists, physicists and bioengineers, reports the findings in the July 19 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology as part of the CONFIRM trial (Conventional Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation With or Without Focal Impulse and Rotor Modulation).

Currently, many atrial fibrillation patients treated with standard therapies will experience a recurrence due to the difficulty of finding the arrhythmia's source. The new research will help cardiologists better target and treat arrhythmias.

The CONFIRM study examined 107 patients with atrial fibrillation who had been referred for a non-surgical catheter ablation procedure. During this procedure, doctors thread a wire with a metal-tipped catheter through the body, from a vein in the groin to the heart, to apply heat to the area of the heart producing the arrhythmia to stop it.

In one group of patients, the team used the new technique to help perform very small, precise burns called focal impulse and rotor modulation, or FIRM that were aimed directly at the fundamental source of the arrhythmia: the tiny electrical disturbances in the heart called focal beats or 'rotors' that look like mini-tornadoes or spinning tops. Rotors can be likened to an "eye of a storm" shown in this study to cause atrial fibrillation. Remarkably, this new procedure shut down or very significantly slowed atrial fibrillation in 86 percent of patients in an average of ju
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Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

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