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Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David's Medical Center First in Nation to Use NaviStar(R) RMT ThermoCool(R) Catheter Since Technology Received FDA Approval

New Technology Used to Treat Abnormal Heart Rhythms

AUSTIN, Texas, March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- On Tuesday, March 3, 2009, the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David's Medical Center became the first in the United States to utilize the long-awaited NaviStar(R) RMT ThermoCool(R) Catheter to treat abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias, since the new technology received FDA approval on Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.

The NaviStar(R) RMT ThermoCool(R) Catheter for radiofrequency (RF) ablation is used with the NIOBE(R) Magnetic Navigation System, which helps steer a catheter remotely and guide ablation to targeted areas that require treatment.

An irregular rhythm in the left upper chamber of the heart or atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia. Like other catheters, the NaviStar(R) RMT ThermoCool(R) Catheter uses heat to destroy abnormal heart muscle that causes atrial fibrillation. The new technology is unique because it sprays cooled saline. Physicians say it is safer and more effective than previous catheters and poses fewer risks for complications.

The NaviStar(R) RMT ThermoCool(R) Catheter maintains a temperature of no more than 42 degrees Celsius while ablation energy is being delivered to the heart tissue. Previously, the temperature at the tip of the catheter reached 65 degrees Celsius, which could cause blood clots on the heart tissue.

"The NaviStar(R) RMT ThermoCool(R) Catheter is revolutionary to the treatment of irregular heart rhythms," said Andrea Natale, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.H.S., executive director of the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David's Medical Center and the electrophysiologist who performed the procedure. "The fact that the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute is the first in the United States to employ this leading-edge technology is proof that we are on the forefront of treatment for heart arrhythmias."

The Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David's Medical Center (TCAI) is a multi-million dollar international treatment, training and research institute specializing in heart rhythm disorders led by world-renowned electrophysiologist, Andrea Natale, M.D., F.A.C.C.

Arrhythmias are problems that affect the electrical system, or "wiring," of the heart muscle. They are very common and millions of people will experience an abnormal heart rhythm some time during their lives.

Atrial fibrillation (A Fib), known as the "silent killer" because it often goes unnoticed, is a disorder found in roughly 2.2 million Americans. During A Fib, the heart's two small upper chambers (the atria) quiver instead of beating effectively. Blood isn't pumped completely out of them, so it may pool and clot. If a piece of a blood clot in the atria leaves the heart and becomes lodged in an artery in the brain, a stroke results.

The American Heart Association estimates that 20 percent of all strokes result from A Fib and are usually more debilitating due to the larger size of the clots. A person with A Fib has a six-fold increased risk of stroke versus patients with normal heart rhythm. The likelihood of developing A Fib increases with age, affecting roughly three to five percent of people over age 65.

Traditionally, patients diagnosed with A Fib take blood thinning medications to prevent blood clots from forming in the heart. Current blood thinning medications require frequent monitoring and have diet and other drug interactions causing many patients to discontinue use of the medication.

In addition to Natale, the team of electrophysiologists with Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia and TCAI includes Shane M. Bailey, M.D.; J. David Burkhardt, M.D., F.A.C.C.; Robert C. Canby, M.D., F.A.C.C.; Rodney P. Horton M.D.; G. Joseph Gallinghouse, M.D.; Larry D. Price, D.O.; Javier E. Sanchez, M.D.; and Jason D. Zagrodzky, M.D.

The NaviStar(R) RMT ThermoCool(R) Catheter was created by Biosense Webster, a Johnson & Johnson Company.

For more information about the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David's Medical Center, visit

For more information about Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia, visit

    Kristin Marcum or Erin Ochoa
    Elizabeth Christian & Associates Public Relations

SOURCE Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute
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