Information from a new study is showing that AF ablation works better at treating both atrial fibrillation (AF) and atrial flutter (AFL) as well as better at preventing recurrences. According to one expert, this is significant because it is common for patients to try out flutter ablations first.

“Our APPROVAL study results suggested that, in coexistent AF and AFL, flutter ablation alone is not sufficient to provide long-term recurrence-free survival and better QoL (quality of life). AF ablation alone or AF plus AFL ablation achieved this,” said study author Dr. Sanghamitra Mohanty of the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute of St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, in an email to Reuters Health. “This study is the first to show that, in patients blinded to the procedure type, clinical freedom from arrhythmia recurrence correlates with improved QoL.”

The study method was published in the April 16 issue of Circulation. For the study, researchers analyzed data collected from 182 participants who received the pulmonary vein ablation for paroxysmal AF and 178 that received the flutter ablation. What they found was that after about 21 months, 69 percent of the patients who had an AF ablation were rid of the arrhythmias, while 26 percent of the flutter group ablation participants were free of theirs.

“It was already widely believed that atrial fibrillation ablation (pulmonary vein isolation: PVI) would be more effective than atrial flutter ablation for patients with both arrhythmias, but the magnitude of the difference in this study (64 percent vs. 19 percent off-drug success rate) was surprising,” said Dr. Eric Buch, director of the specialized program for atrial fibrillation at the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center in Los Angeles, in an email. “This is important because these arrhythmias are often seen together, and many electrophysiologists currently recommend a more conservative strategy of ablating the atrial flutter first, and reserving the more invasive atrial fibrillation ablation for patients with recurrent arrhythmias after the first ablation.”

What this study was able to show was that doctors and patients may want to consider giving patients the AF ablations as a first treatment, rather than adding the flutter ablation. Doing so could help prevent recurrences with or without the use of potentially harmful drugs. Common drugs used to treat AF flutters include anticoagulants like Multaq. Multaq is made by Sanofi-Aventis and has been linked to serious side effects including a worsening of the heart condition, liver failure and lung toxicity. It is for this reason that the FDA has recommended that doctors only prescribe Multaq if all other medications fail to work.

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.