Testing New Technique to Treat Heart Rhythm Disorder | Loyola Medicine

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Loyola Medicine Testing New Technique to Treat Critical Heart Rhythm Disorder

heart rhythm

MAYWOOD, IL – Loyola Medicine is the only center in the Midwest enrolling patients in a landmark clinical trial of a new procedure to treat a life-threatening heart rhythm disorder called ventricular tachycardia.

The trial is intended for patients who do not respond to either medications or a standard heart procedure called catheter ablation.

Standard catheter ablation employs a single catheter to cauterize a small amount of heart tissue that sends out erratic electrical signals that trigger irregular heartbeats. The clinical trial is testing a new ablation procedure that employs two catheters, enabling the physician to reach and burn troublesome areas deeper inside heart muscle.

Loyola is one of six centers in the U.S. participating in the trial, which will enroll 200 patients. Principal investigator at the Loyola site is David Wilber, MD, director of Loyola’s division of cardiology and director of clinical electrophysiology.

Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death. This heart rhythm disorder, known as an arrhythmia, is caused by abnormal electrical signals in the lower chambers of the heart, called ventricles.

A heart at rest normally beats about 60 to 100 times per minute. In VT, erratic electrical signals cause the heart to beat more than 100 times per minute. Because the ventricles are beating so fast and are out-of-synch with the upper pumping chambers, the blood is not pumped efficiently. Symptoms can include dizziness, palpitations, fainting and sudden cardiac death.

The standard treatment for VT is medication, followed by catheter ablation if medication doesn’t work. In an ablation, an electrophysiologist (a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythm disorders) guides a catheter through blood vessels to the spot in the heart where the erratic electrical signals originate. The electrophysiologist positions the catheter against the heart muscle wall and releases radio frequency energy that burns the troublesome tissue.

However, if the source of the erratic electrical signals is deep within the heart muscle, the single-catheter technique may not burn deeply enough to be effective. The two-catheter technique is designed to treat such cases. The catheters are placed on either side of the heart muscle. Energy travels between the two catheter tips, burning tissue that can’t be accessed with a single catheter.

The trial is titled Bipolar Catheter Ablation for the Treatment of Refractory Scar-Related Ventricular Arrhythmia. Principal investigator for the overall trial is Srinivas Dukkipati, MD, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Patients seeking information about enrolling in the trial at Loyola can call 708-216-2644.

Loyola performs more than 500 catheter ablations per year for VT, atrial fibrillation and other heart rhythm disorders. Loyola's team of expert electrophysiologists, advanced practice nurses, pacemaker clinic nursing staff, imaging experts and other professionals work together to manage the diagnosis and treatment of heart arrhythmias.

Loyola offers expertise in cardiac device management, including device implantation, lead extractions and medical management. Loyola’s state-of-the-art equipment allows physicians to use leading-edge technologies to perform procedures.

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 92 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 129,000 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.