Catheter ablation benefits younger adults with irregular heartbeat

Sep 22, 2010

Patients under age 45 had fewer major complications than older patients and comparable improvement after a medical procedure to treat irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, in a study reported in Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, an American Heart Association journal.

The procedure, known as , delivers a heat pulse to the heart through thin tubes to destroy abnormal that causes the irregular heartbeat. It was used in this study to treat (AF), a common arrhythmia.

Younger patients also were less likely than older ones to require medication at least one year after catheter ablation — which means it may be an appropriate first therapy, said Peter Leong-Sit, M.D., lead author and an physician at London Health Sciences-University Hospital in London, Ontario, Canada. Typically, medication is used first to control the condition. American Heart Association guidelines recommend ablation as a second-line treatment - to be used only of medication doesn’t work.

“While AF is more common with increasing age, clinical experience has suggested that younger patients tend to be more symptomatic and less willing to take long-term medications,” write the study authors.

One year after catheter ablation, the percentage of patients of all ages with either infrequent or no AF was virtually the same:
• 87 percent of patients younger than 45 years old;
• 88 percent of patients 45-54 years old and 55-64 years old;
• 82 percent of patients 65 years or older.

Unlike older patients, however, younger patients had no major complications, including stroke. In contrast, about 2 percent to 3 percent of patients in the older age groups suffered serious complications during or after catheter ablation.

During follow-up, the investigators monitored patients’ episodes with a transtelephonic monitor. Using the monitor, patients transmitted a detailed chart of their heartbeat twice a day at 6 - 12 weeks follow-up, at 6 months, and at 1 year. Patients also made additional transmissions if they had any AF symptoms at any time during follow-up and/or when antiarrhythmic drugs were discontinued.

The study comprised 1,548 patients undergoing catheter ablation within the University of Pennsylvania Health System between November 2000 and September 2008. All patients had atrial fibrillation that had not responded to medication. Their average age was 56 years old, and 70 percent were men.

Atrial fibrillation occurs when the heart’s upper chambers (atria) periodically quiver instead of beating with an effective rhythm. Blood isn’t pumped completely out of the atria so it can pool and clot. If these blood clots leave the atria and become trapped in a brain artery, may occur.

More than 2.2 million people in the United States have atrial fibrillation. Since it’s more common among the elderly, affecting about 6 percent of people 65 years and older, researchers have not focused much on the risks and benefits of therapies like catheter ablation in young patients.

Explore further: Philippines boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

1 hour ago

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

US orders farms to report pig virus infections

Apr 18, 2014

The U.S. government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the country last year.

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi

Apr 18, 2014

A foreigner has died after she contracted MERS in the Saudi capital, the health ministry said on announced Friday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 73.

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

Apr 18, 2014

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.

New clues on tissue scarring in scleroderma

Apr 18, 2014

A discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists could lead to potential new treatments for breaking the cycle of tissue scarring in people with scleroderma.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.