British patients are the first to be trialled with a pioneering new treatment for irregular heartbeat: radiofrequency balloon ablation.
This new treatment is a combination of two traditional surgical treatments: cryoablation or radiofrequency catheter ablation, and “involves a balloon fitted with electrodes delivering precise doses of heat to tissue around the pulmonary vein entrances to prevent rogue electrical signals.”
‘It targets all the vein wall at the same time rather than destroying individual bits of tissue one after the other,’ explains Prof Schilling.
‘We can adjust the power and duration of burn to suit the thickness of tissue under each electrode. More resistant areas can be treated more than once, without moving the balloon, by switching electrodes on or off.”
‘This allows us to adjust treatment for each patient and really is a game-changer – reducing average operation times from three hours to less than 90 minutes.’
‘Initial follow-up data of patients shows they have all been hugely improved. They’ve been able to come off medication and are symptom-free.’