Scientists are now viewing a new hybrid procedure as a possible alternative to harmful drugs for treating patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). The procedure combines transvenous catheter and minimally invasive thorascopic surgical ablation and is believed to be safe and effective in treating patients that have both paroxysmal and persistent AF.

Current research is showing that when the hybrid procedure was performed by an experienced European group, the success rate after a year was 83 percent among the 26 patients who had the treatment. The study results were published in the July 3, 2012 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“If you combine the two procedures, we end up with something that is very efficient,” said lead investigator Dr. Laurent Pison (Maastricht University Medical Center, the Netherlands). “On the one side, we are able to create transmural lesions, while on the other side we keep the ability to perform mapping and use good, strong EP (electrophysiology) end points.”

Pison told heartwire that the purpose of the hybrid procedure is to take advantage of the two treatment procedures so that the doctors can create lesion sets that are harder to produce with just one procedure. Ablations are becoming a less invasive means of isolating the pulmonary veins; however, doctors are having problems creating other lesion sets. This is where transvenous catheter ablation comes in handy. This procedure boasts a 70 percent success rate in those patients with persistent AF and 80 percent for patients with paroxysmal AF. Reconnection of pulmonary veins sometimes requires that patients get more than one procedure.

“With catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation, there is a problem in that the cornerstone of the procedure, which is pulmonary-vein isolation, is also the weakest link,” Pison told heartwire. “The most common reason for the recurrence of atrial fibrillation after pulmonary-vein isolation is reconduction. Also, it is sometimes very difficult to make linear lesions in certain patients. On the other side, you have the surgeon, who is very effective in isolating the pulmonary veins because of the use of bipolar radiofrequency energy, which is very efficient. The surgeon is also able to make very good transmural linear lesions.”

The only alternative to the hybrid procedures right now are prescription medications like Multaq. Multaq is made by Sanofi-Aventis and has been linked to serious side effects like liver failure and a worsening of the heart condition. Those risks is the reason why previous trials of the drug have been halted. These risks are also why the FDA is recommending that Multaq not be used unless all other medications have failed. If this new hybrid procedure works, Multaq and other anticoagulant AF medication may be a thing of the past.

If you or a loved one has suffered from liver failure or a worsening heart condition after being treated with Multaq, contact the attorneys at Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Multaq lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.