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.