Saturday December 15, 2018

How Ablation may Help Treat Atrial Fibrillation

For the study, the researchers evaluated medical records for AFib patients hospitalised between 2005 and 2013

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Higher levels of inflammation may in turn increase risk for heart diseases (IANS)
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Using catheter-based ablation instead of medications alone may reduce the risks of death and stroke in patients with the common form of heart arrhythmia known as atrial fibrillation (AFib), a new study, led by an Indian-origin researcher, suggests.

The study, published in the journal Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, found that, among the study participants, 84 patients in the ablation group died as did 189 in the control group.

They also found that 55 patients in the ablation group had ischemic strokes and 86 in the control group. Also, 17 patients in the ablation group had hemorrhagic strokes, and 53 in the control group.

“Less than 2 per cent of patients undergo ablation early in the course of AFib when the procedure can be most beneficial,” said lead author Uma Srivatsa, professor at University of California Davis Health.

“Our study shows that ablation may be considered as a primary treatment for everyone with the condition,” Srivatsa added.

According to the researchers, ablation is currently only recommended when AFib medications don’t work or aren’t well tolerated.

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Ablation is a more long-term solution that involves using heat or extreme cold to destroy the heart tissue responsible for the faulty electrical signals, reducing the need for rhythm-control medications.

For the study, the researchers evaluated medical records for AFib patients hospitalised between 2005 and 2013.

Two groups of about 4,000 each were compared, one that was treated with ablation and another that was not. The groups were matched in terms of AFib patterns and prior hospitalisations.

Outcomes for both groups were similar in terms of rates of death, ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke within 30 days of hospitalisation. However, beyond 30 days the benefits of ablation were apparent.

“Our data supports wider utilisation of ablation along with improving the awareness of its benefits,” Srivatsa noted. (IANS)

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Now a Smartphone App That can Detect Atrial Fibrillation

The results were presented at the ESC Congress 2018, the annual conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Munich

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Heart Disease
Even low exposure to arsenic, lead may up heart disease risk. Pixabay

Scientists have developed a smartphone application that can help in screening for atrial fibrillation — the most common heart rhythm disorder.

The disorder leads to an irregular, often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow.

It is also behind 20-30 per cent of all strokes and raises the risk of premature death, but outlook improves dramatically with oral anticoagulation therapy.

The novel app measures the heart rhythm using inputs of symptoms such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath or fatigue.

It is to be used by holding the left index finger in front of the smartphone camera for one minute.

The app also automatically generates a report, along with a copy of the rhythm traces as well as an interpretation, the researchers said.

heart-rate
Heart Rate. (IANS)

“Most people have a smartphone with a camera which is all they need to detect atrial fibrillation. This is a low-cost way to screen thousands of people for a condition which is becoming more prevalent and can have serious consequences unless treated,” said principal investigator Pieter Vandervoort, Professor at the University of Hasselt, Belgium.

In the study, the participants were instructed to use their own smartphone to measure their heart rhythm twice a day for one week.

The average age of the screened population was 50 years and 58 per cent were male.

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A total of 9,889 (80 per cent) participants had regular (sinus) rhythm, 136 (1.1 per cent) had atrial fibrillation, 2,111 (17 per cent) had other irregular rhythms, and 191 (2 per cent) had measurements of insufficient quality for analysis.

“This technology has real potential to find people with previously unknown atrial fibrillation so they can be treated,” Vandervoort noted.

The results were presented at the ESC Congress 2018, the annual conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Munich. (IANS)