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Physician Resource

UVA Second In U.S. to Utilize CardioFocus Laser Balloon for Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation

At a Glance:

  • Thanks to a recent series of grants, UVA Atrial Fibrillation Center is furthering its efforts to improve the treatment of Afib.
  • UVA has acquired the CardioFocus™ Laser Balloon, an endocopically-guided catheter ablation system.
  • UVA has also acquired the CardioInsight 3-D body surface electrocardiographic mapping system

UVA Heart and Vascular Center has been focused on improving the treatment of atrial fibrillation for more than two decades. Thanks to a recent series of grants — most notably a $425,000 gift from the Seraph Foundation — UVA has now acquired some of the most advanced technology available to treat this common heart rhythm disorder.

One of these recently acquired devices is the CardioFocus™ Laser Balloon, an endoscopically-guided catheter ablation system. “We worked on clinical trials for eight years with various iterations of the device, so we were very familiar with it,” says UVA electrophysiologist Mike Mangrum, MD.

Benefits to patients include:

  • Direct visualization of the area being ablated
    The catheter includes an endoscope that shines a bright light on the inside surface of the heart, explains Mangrum. This allows physicians to ablate a specific area with greater accuracy.
  • Less swelling
    Because of the precision of laser and using less energy, there is less localized tissue swelling compared to traditional radiofrequency ablation.
  • Durability of ablation
    Perhaps due to the decreased swelling mentioned above, the ablation performed with a laser is durable, so it has the potential to provide longer-term relief from symptoms.

UVA successfully completed its first CardioFocus procedure in mid-January. Eligible patients include those with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, which is characterized by self-terminating episodes of this heart rhythm abnormality. “We have a long history of using this technology,” says Mangrum. “We helped in the clinical trials as it was being developed, so we are very familiar with its capabilities.”

UVA will also be among the first in the U.S. to utilize another recent acquisition by the Atrial Fibrillation Center. It is the CardioInsight™ 3-D body surface electrocardiographic mapping system, which produces a real-time, electrical 3-D map of the heart. Currently being used and investigated by UVA heart specialists, the CardioInsight will allow electrophysiologists to map noninvasively, without placing catheters in the heart . It will also help identify target areas for ablation prior to starting an invasive procedure. Read more about CardioInsight.

With technology like this and the expertise to use it effectively, UVA Heart and Vascular Center remains one step ahead in the treatment of atrial fibrillation. Outside organizations are taking notice and investing in the future of the UVA Atrial Fibrillation Center. In addition to the gift from the Seraph Foundation, UVA received a gift of $25,000, as well as a pledge of $2 million to support atrial fibrillation research and patient care.

To refer a patient to the UVA Atrial Fibrillation Center, call UVA Physician Direct at 800.552.3723.

If you have further questions, contact the UVA Atrial Fibrillation Center directly at 866.607.2342(AFIB).




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