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Houston Methodist Sugar Land Deploys New Atrial Fibrillation Treatment

Sugar Land, TX News (September 24, 2014) - Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is the first in Fort Bend County to use a next-generation cardiac ablation system to treat a patient with a common heart rhythm condition called atrial fibrillation, or AF. Patients with AF are typically treated with point-by-point radiofrequency ablation, which uses heat to ablate, or remove, extra tissue that is causing the heart to beat irregularly.
However, Sohail Jalal, M.D., a board-certified electrophysiologist, used the new Arctic Front Advance Cardiac Cryoballoon System, made by Medtronic, to treat his patient in a minimally invasive procedure at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital.

Dr. Jalal

Medtronic’s cryoballoon treatment isolates the pulmonary vein, a source of erratic electrical signals that cause AF, using coolant rather than heat as in traditional radiofrequency ablation. Delivered via a catheter, cryoballoon technology is associated with faster procedure times. Additionally, 73 percent of Medtronic cryoablation patients are free of AF symptoms after one year, a clinically significant increase in success over drug therapy.

The new cryoballoon system features a larger, more uniform cold surface than its predecessor, which improves physicians’ ability to treat patients with complicated anatomies.

“This technology enables me to better manage my patients’ atrial fibrillation and provide more complete treatment in less time,” Jalal said. “We are always searching for new technologies that can make a difference for our patients, and Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is at the forefront in adopting these leading-edge therapies.”

Atrial fibrillation is the most common and one of the most undertreated heart rhythm disorders, with more than three million Americans affected. It is estimated that half of all diagnosed atrial fibrillation patients fail drug therapy, and if left untreated, patients have up to a five times higher risk of stroke and an increased chance of developing heart failure.

“AF is a serious condition and one that should never be overlooked,” Jalal said. “Using this cryoballoon system is a major step forward in treating this condition and allowing patients to return to a normal lifestyle without the need for ongoing medication.”

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