Test Treatment for Implantable Defibrillators | News | Loyola Medicine
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Clinical trial tests treatment intended to reduce shocks from implantable defibrillators

MAYWOOD, IL – An implantable heart device called a defibrillator can prevent fatal cardiac arrest by providing an electric jolt to restore a normal heartbeat.

The thump is life-saving, but it can feel like a kick to the chest. Now, a multi-center clinical trial is testing whether a treatment involving catheter ablation can reduce the number of necessary but unpleasant thumps.

Loyola University Medical Center is the only center in Illinois participating in the trial, called STAR-VT.

Certain patients with a heart condition known as cardiomyopathy are at risk for an abnormal heartbeat called ventricular tachycardia (VT). During VT, the lower chambers of the heart flutter too fast to effectively pump blood, causing the patient to go into cardiac arrest.

The standard procedure is to treat the patient with drugs to prevent VT and to implant a defibrillator to shock the heart back to normal rhythm if the patient does experience VT.

The clinical trial will test the effectiveness of an additional treatment called catheter ablation. This treatment involves burning troublesome tissue inside the heart with the tip of a catheter. This eliminates the source of errant electrical signals that trigger VT.

The catheter used in the study has a flexible design with four holes at the tip that allow for irrigation that keeps the tip cool during the ablation procedure.

The aim of the study is to show whether catheter ablation will reduce the need for shocks and lead to fewer hospitalizations, improved quality of life and reduced mortality.

Half the participants will be randomly assigned to receive standard therapy (medications plus implantable defibrillator), and half will be assigned to receive standard therapy plus catheter ablation.

The study is titled Substrate Targeted Ablation Using the FlexAbilityTM Ablation Catheter System for the Reduction of Ventricular Tachycardia (STAR-VT). Primary investigator at the Loyola site is Jeffrey Winterfield, MD. Dr. Winterfield is an assistant professor in the Division of Cardiology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

To learn more or to find out if you are eligible to participate in the trial, please call (708) 216-2653, ext. 2.

Loyola serves as a major regional and national referral center for the treatment of complex heart rhythm disorders, offering treatment options often unavailable elsewhere. Loyola’s team of electrophysiologists, advanced practice nurses, technical staff, imaging experts and other professionals provide an integrated approach to the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of rhythm disturbances and their associated underlying conditions. Loyola’s heart rhythm specialists are frequently at the forefront of new technology innovations for the treatment of patients.

Loyola’s heart program has been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 12 years in a row.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.