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Winthrop University Hospital

Major Advances Bring Hope to Cardiac Patients

It’s an exciting time in the cardiology field, with technology advancing every day to give hope to many individuals facing life-threatening cardiac conditions.

Heart Valve Replacement with No Open Surgery

There is a new treatment option available for select patients with aortic valve stenosis – a severe chronic condition in which the aortic valve does not open properly, hindering the flow of blood from the heart to the rest of the body. As the heart works harder to pump enough blood through the smaller valve opening, the heart weakens, which can cause chest pain, heart palpitations, fatigue, and heart murmur, and may even lead to heart failure.

Winthrop recently became one of only 70 centers in the United States to offer the Edwards Sapien Transcathether Heart Valve for select patients who are not candidates for open heart surgery and were previously considered untreatable. Recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Edwards Sapien valve enables physicians to replace a patient’s aortic valve without open-heart surgery by inserting the aortic valve through an artery in the groin and advancing it into the heart using a catheter. Then the valve is expanded with a balloon and immediately functions in place of the patient’s own valve. Kevin P. Marzo, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiology; John A. Goncalves, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery; Scott L. Schubach, MD, Chairman of the Department of Thoracic & Cardio - vascular Surgery; and Richard Schwartz, DO, Director of Cardiovascular Outreach, are performing this procedure collaboratively at Winthrop. This revolutionary new technology provides a unique opportunity for heart surgeons and interventional cardiologists at Winthrop to work simultaneously to ensure patients receive the highest level of care.

The Heart and Vascular Institute at Winthrop has established a valve service where high-risk patients can be evaluated by a team of cardiologists, cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons to determine whether or not a patient is an appropriate candidate for this technology. Those who are not candidates for open heart surgery and are experiencing severe symptoms of aortic stenosis may be considered candidates. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 1-866-WINTHROP.

Freezing Away Heart Tissue that Causes A-Fib


Arctic Front® Cryoballoon
Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) is a serious heart rhythm disorder that affects millions of Americans. PAF is a type of atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) in which irregular heartbeats in the upper chambers start and stop suddenly on their own, usually for minutes or days at a time. Physicians at Winthrop were the first on Long Island to offer a new therapy for patients with PAF – the Arctic Front® Cardiac CryoAblation Catheter system, the first and only cryoballoon in the United States indicated to treat certain cases of PAF. Recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, cryo - balloon treatment involves a minimallyinvasive procedure that efficiently uses freezing to scar or kill the tissue that is causing the erratic electrical signals that cause the irregular heartbeat. Winthrop physicians have been utilizing cryoablation since October 2011 and have performed over 20 procedures to-date.

Unlike traditional ablation treatments that use radiofrequency, or heat, to destroy faulty electrical circuits in the heart, the balloon-based technology of Arctic Front is novel because it dissolves cardiac tissue through the use of a coolant rather than heat, which is delivered through a catheter. This freezing technology allows the catheter to adhere to the tissue during ablation, allowing for greater catheter stability.

“The value of the new cryoablation technology over existing ablation methods is that it enables physicians to safely and effectively isolate the pulmonary veins using a simple, efficient approach,” said Todd Cohen, MD, Director of Electrophysiology and the Pacemaker/Arrhythmia Center at Winthrop. “This minimally invasive procedure, in which a catheter is inserted via a vein in the groin and then passed up to the heart without open heart surgery, gives patients peace-ofmind that their heart may be restored to an appropriate rhythm and they can resume their normal daily activity following the treatment.”

“Conceptually, this novel technology replaces various current techniques that require numerous applications of radiofrequency energy into a single, more extensive method of treating atrial fibrillation. Our hope is that this procedure brings us that much closer to a ‘cure’ for atrial fibrillation,” said Joseph Germano, DO, Associate Director of Electrophysiology and Director of the Atrial Fibrillation Center at Winthrop.

“We are hopeful that cryoablation will prove to be a more durable procedure than radio frequency ablation which uses heat to wear away the tissue causing damage, and that it will cure more patients the first time around,” added Jeffrey S. Snow, MD, Electro - physiologist at Winthrop.

Winthrop Electrophysiologist Sameer P. Parekh, MD, also utilizes cr yoablation for treatment of PAF.

The Pacemaker/Arrhythmia Center at Winthrop is a state-of-the-art facility that offers cutting-edge services with highly skilled clinical cardiac electro - physiologists who specialize in the entire range of heart rhythm diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The Center offers both inpatient and outpatient services.

For more information about cr yoablation for treatment of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation at Winthrop, call 1-866-WINTHROP.
Vol. 22, No. 1
Winter/Spring 2012

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