Patients with a common heart rhythm disorder who received treatment with cardiac ablation were arrhythmia-free longer than patients taking drugs, suggesting that ablation should be a 1st-order approach to managing an erratic heart beat, according to a new study.
Unveiled at this year’s Heart Rhythm Society in Boston, the study found that patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation who received ablation therapy were 20% less likely to see a recurrence than patients taking anti-arrhythmic medication.
"These are real-life data. That’s still pretty good, and shows that radiofrequency ablation is superior to drugs," study co-author Dr. Carlos Morillo of McMaster University’s medical department told HRS attendees this morning after presenting the data.
At 2 years of follow-up, researchers found that 52% of patients who underwent ablation therapy saw symptoms return, compared with 72% of patients taking the drug regimen. In addition, treatment related adverse events for the ablation arm was 8%, compared with 20% for the drug arm of the study.
"We believe our findings are significant enough to point to a change in how we treat patients who have not yet received treatment for symptomatic AF," Morillo added in prepared remarks. "Our trial showed that ablation is superior in the real world, and is a more effective and safer course of 1st-line treatment with less patient complications."
"This study supports consideration of catheter ablation as a first-line treatment option for patients with paroxysmal AFib," Morillo said in prepared remarks. "This research is promising, as the results demonstrated better safety and effectiveness outcomes in AFib patients, not previously treated with drugs, who underwent radiofrequency ablation."
The Raaft study, partially sponsored by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary BioSense Webster, involved 127 patients with paroxysmal recurrent atrial fibrillation, a condition in which the heart’s upper chambers sporadically beat out of sync with the lower chambers.
Topera’s heart mapping system helps docs find ablation targets almost every time
Topera Medical unveiled the highly anticipated results of its Confirm study, touting a 100% success rate for its RhythmView 3D mapping system which helps physicians identify specific culprit areas of the heart driving atrial fibrillation.
A dozen doctors at 8 U.S. sites evaluated the RhythmView system in more than 30 patients with paroxysmal, persistent and long-standing persistent AF. The physicians were able to locate rotors or focal beats, helping in arrhythmia diagnosis and treatment planning.
Attendees at HRS 2012 were "cautiously optimistic" about the new technology, waiting for large, multi-center trails to confirm the findings of the Confirm trial, Leering Swann analysts wrote in a note to investors. Read more
St. Jude’s Riata ST as good as Quattro, company says
St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) showered this years HRS meeting with abstracts and special sessions discussing the recalled Riata defibrillator leads and calming fears about the company’s next-generation Durata leads.
St. Jude rehashed figures on the pair of leads at the center of on-going controversy: the Riata and the Riata ST. Although the original Riata lead is prone to a erosion that allows the device’s conductive wires to poke through their silicon insulation, the Riata ST is much safer – about as safe as Medtronic’s (NYSE:MDT) Quattro leads, according to an independent study released yesterday.
The Riata and Qauttro leads were both subjects of a controversial study, published by the Heart Rhythm Society, which created a firestorm after St. Jude demanded a retraction and called out rival Medtronic on deaths associated with its Quattro lead. Read more