New Treatment for Arrhythmias

As reported in this New York Times article, radiation has been used as a successful treatment in five patients with ventricular arrhythmias who had previously failed standard treatment using catheter radiofrequency ablation.  The complete study was published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Because long term effects of radiation to the heart are unknown, this method is still quite experimental and could potentially cause long term side effects such as lung and heart damage.  Science Daily reported that the researchers have performed the procedure on 23 patients to date, and are currently enrolling patients in a clinical trial.

Catheter ablation useful for AFib in HCM

A recent article published in Heart looked at the safety and effectiveness of catheter ablation for the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation in patients with HCM by performing a systematic review of prior publications on the subject.

The researchers concluded that even though the success rate for HCM patients was approximately half that of patients who suffered from AFib but did not have HCM, catheter ablation is still an effective treatment for HCM patients;  especially for those HCM patients who suffer from paroxysmal AFib and who have smaller atria.