SALT LAKE CITY -- Just-released results from a study on how catheter ablation helps patients with both heart failure and atrial fibrillation are dramatic. The conclusions appear strong enough to change the way these patients are treated.
David Shepherd is an active guy, so when his job delivering bread got tough, he knew something was wrong.
"Every time I'd come in, I was so exhausted and so winded that I had to sit down in the backroom of those grocery stores for ten or fifteen minutes to catch my breath," said Shepherd, a heart failure and AFib Patient.
Shepherd had heart problems for years, and now he was in atrial fibrillation. Dr. Nassir Marrouche of University of Utah Hospital used a catheter to destroy areas in the heart that were causing the irregular heartbeats. Dr Marrouche's trial for patients like Shepherd, with heart failure and AFib shows remarkable results after five years.
Dr. Marrouche said, "We showed that for the first time ever, that catheter ablation for AFib does improve mortality by almost 50-percent reduction."
The castle AF study also showed that hospitalizations dropped 47 percent.
"Showing such a striking mortality and heart end point benefits was, as you can imagine, great, great news for our patients and for us as treating physicians," stated Dr. Marrouche.
Dr. Marrouche says this is good news for the health care system, too, as cost of care should drop. Shepherd is just glad it worked.
"I like to bike ride. I like to hike. I like to camp. I like to get out and do things," said Shepherd.
Both Shepherd and Dr. Marrouche hope this study will help more heart failure patients soon.
Patients in the study had significant heart weakness, an implanted defibrillator, and any type of afib. Dr. Marrouche says 30 percent of heart failure patients get AFib. He hopes the study findings will change standard of care for these folks quickly.
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Dr. Nassir Marrouche
Catheter ablation saves heart
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