Best of 2021 Stories

Clinical Practice Innovation: A Hybrid Atrial Fibrillation Program is Born

Patients with long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation have been waiting for breakthrough treatments, and in 2021, a promising hybrid procedure gained U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to help patients in advanced stages of the disease. Abdi Rasekh, MD, and Jennifer Cozart, MD, developed and implemented a new Hybrid Atrial Fibrillation Program at THI that leverages cutting-edge technologies.

The AtriCure EPi-Sense System enables a surgeon to perform minimally invasive, closed-chest epicardial ablation (ie, from outside the heart muscle) for patients with atrial fibrillation. In the hybrid procedure, this technique is combined with endocardial radiofrequency ablation (ie, from inside the heart) performed by an electrophysiologist. Results of the CONVERGE (Epi/Endo Ablation For Treatment of Persistent Atrial Fibrillation (AF)) clinical trial showed that use of the hybrid procedure was superior to endocardial ablation alone in patients with advanced atrial fibrillation. The FDA’s approval of the Epi-Sense system is aligned with the hybrid treatment program created by Drs. Cozart and Rasekh, demonstrating how collaborative efforts between cardiac surgeons and electrophysiologists can help to improve outcomes for these patients.


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