25 September 2012

Using Extreme Cold To Treat Malfunctioning Heart Tissues

Cardiac arrhythmia is a condition where the heart beats in an irregular rhythm. It may beat too slow or too fast.

These episodes are generally harmless. People who experience an irregular heartbeat may suddenly feel flushed, have shortness of breath, or suddenly weak. There are times when arrhythmia may be dangerous when the heart because of its rhythm may not pump enough blood to the body which can damage the affected areas specially the heart and the brain.

The most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation. This is a rapid beating of the heart that is combined with poor blood flow. Patients who suffer atrial fibrillation may have symptoms such as palpitations, fainting, chest pain, or congestive heart failure.

Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke up to seven times the average especially when coupled with other high risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and stress). This condition is detected by taking the pulse or undergoing an electrocardiogram reading (ECG or EKG).

The goal for treating atrial fibrillation is to avoid circulatory shock and prevent a stroke. Circulatory shock is when the body undergoes low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and loss of consciousness. This is generally referred to simply as "shock".

Montreal technology uses cold to treat heart condition

A team of cardiologists from the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) specializing in cardiac arrhythmias has used for the very first time in Canada, a technology developed in Montreal to treat a patient with atrial fibrillation. Recently licenced by Health Canada, this sophisticated device is a balloon inserted by catheter that uses extreme cold to burn malfunctioning heart tissue. This medical milestone is excellent news for hundreds of Canadians as one in 20 people will suffer from atrial fibrillation at some point in their lives.

On September 4 2012, Doctor Marc Dubuc and Doctor Peter Guerra, both cardiologists at MHI, performed the procedure in a 67-year-old female patient. The patient had been suffering from arrhythmia for a number of years and drug-based treatments had proved ineffective. The patient tolerated the procedure well and she was able to return to the comfort of her home barely 24 hours after the procedure.

Video: Arrhythmias

Technology developed in Montreal This innovative technology was developed by Medtronic CryoCath, based in Montreal. The success of this procedure is particularly significant for Dr. Dubuc the principal investigator for the research carried out at Montreal Heart Insititute that resulted in the development of this technology. "This cryoballoon is a major milestone in the treatment of atrial fibrillation, as the duration of the procedure is reduced and it is both effective and safe for patients", Dr Dubuc stated proudly. Furthermore, a North American study has demonstrated that 69.9% of patients treated with this type of device no longer suffered from atrial fibrillation after one year, compared with 7.3% of those taking medication alone.

A type of heart disease that affects one in 20 people In Canada, almost 250,000 people suffer from this form of arrhythmia. Closely associated with an aging population, this type of arrhythmia is becoming more and more common. The main symptoms are palpitations, blackouts and shortness of breath. The heart beats very quickly in an irregular and unpredictable manner. This weakens the heart and encourages blood clots to form, which can cause strokes and peripheral embolisms.


Montreal Heart Institute
Health Canada
Medtronic CryoCath
Zio® Patch Studied For Use In Diagnosing Irregular Heartbeat or Arrhythmia
Scar Tissue Formed After Heart Attack Turned To Heart Muscle Tissue Without The Use of Stem Cells
Newly Discovered Cardiac Stem Cells Repair Damaged Heart
Study Finds Hardening of Arteries and Related Vascular Diseases Are Caused by Multipotent Vascular Stem Cells
Transforming Human Stem Cells to Cardiomyocytes Promises Efficient and Inexpensive Heart Treatments
Mending A Broken Heart
Cyborg Tissues - Bioengineered Tissues With Embedded Nanoelectronics Developed
MIT News: Tissue Implants Made Of Engineered Cells Depends On Scaffold Grown
Anti Blood Clot Medication Prasugrel Is as Safe as Clopidogrel With Long-term Treatment Of ACS
SpinDX : Sandia Lab's Revolutionary Medical Diagnostic Tool