In the operating room of the Cardiac surgery of the IRCCS House for Relief of Suffering it was performed for the first time, come on two patients aged 41 and 45, the defined ablation technique “Convergent”, The most innovative minimally invasive method for Atrial Fibrillation (AF) which combines the work of the cardiac surgeon and that of the electrophysiologist cardiologist. AF is a type of arrhythmia that causes irregular heart rhythm and which, while not risky in itself, can cause thrombotic events and clots that if they end up in the circulation can also cause stroke or ischemia. AF is usually treated with drug therapy or by electrical cardioversion. When this is not enough, it is necessary to resort to ablation.
The new ablation technique, performed in San Giovanni Rotondo by the French heart surgeon Kostantinos Zannis, head physician of the IMM of Paris, and by the heart surgeon of Casa Sollievo Michele Palladino, is applicable only to cases of isolated atrial fibrillation, that is, not associated with valvular pathology and is spreading also thanks to the possibility of performing the ablation surgery avoiding sternotomy (opening of the sternum).
The “Convergent” is divided into two stages: in the hall surgery, the surgeon performs, with a minimally invasive access, a radiofrequency ablation of the posterior wall of the left atrium of the heart to isolate the areas that generate the “wrong” electrical impulse, the so-called “arrhythmogenic foci”; after 3 months, the work is completed by the electrophysiologist cardiologist performing catheter ablation of the pulmonary veins with cryoablation.
«This new method completes the range of treatments that we are able to offer to treat AF – has explained Mauro Cassese, who directs the Cardiac Surgery Unit of the IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Soflievo -. In these first years of implementation of the new method, which until now in Italy was only available in 3 other hospitals, it emerged that this synergistic cardiac surgeon-electrophysiologist collaboration achieves a resolution of the arrhythmia in about 80% of the patients treated. They should be underlined ‒ Cassese concluded ‒ also the positive implications for the patient who, in addition to eliminating the thromboembolytic risk, will be able to suspend anticoagulant therapy and beta-blockers, which have a considerable impact on the quality of life».