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Catheter Ablation

  • Study finds a new approach to heart care offers significant improvement to heart function

    Dr. Sumeet Mainigi, catheter ablation

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    Einstein’s Dr. Sumeet Mainigi, Associate Director of Electrophysiology and a Top Doc, recently led a breakthrough study that found that the majority of patients suffering from heart failure could be significantly improved or even cured through a non-surgical procedure to treat their arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats.

    “The best part of all is that the patient has the procedure and goes home the next day with nothing to show for it but a Band-Aid in the leg,” said Sumeet Mainigi, MD, FACC, FHRS

    The procedure, known as a catheter ablation, involves threading tiny electrical wires through a patient’s leg to the heart, and uses radiofrequency energy to precisely target the exact group of cells leading to these often devastating arrhythmias.

    Learn more about irregular heartbeat

    Learn more about Einstein Cardiology

    Watch Mainigi Discuss Ablation Treatment on NBC10

    Twenty percent of patients’ hearts returned to normal

    While arrhythmias are very common among heart failure patients, most doctors treat these problems with medications, often without significant improvement.

    Dr. Mainigi’s study, the largest published in this area, found that more aggressive treatment of arrhythmias with catheter ablation defied expectations by improving heart function in most patients. The results:

    • 65 percent of patients saw significant improvement in heart function
    • 20 percent had their hearts return to normal function, curing them of heart failure and allowing them to stop taking heart failure medications

    One 60-year-old male patient had a heart in such bad condition that surgeons did not want to perform a valve replacement for fear he would not survive the surgery. Yet, one month after Mainigi performed an ablation to fix the man’s atrial flutter, his heart returned to normal. The ablation restored his heart to normal function, fixed his leaky valve, and meant the man no longer required heart surgery.

    Dr. Sumeet Mainigi, catheter ablation 2

    Arrhythmias that were successfully treated with ablation include:

    • atrial fibrillation
    • atrial flutter
    • supraventricular tachycardias
    • premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)

     A new approach to heart care

    Ablation has shown so much promise it has led to revolutionary changes in the treatment of heart failure. Once thought of as more benign, in the past few years, it has been found that tachyarrhythmias, or rapid arrhythmias, can reduce the functioning of the heart and increase the development of heart disease.

    They are also frequently seen in patients suffering from congestive heart failure.  

    “In the past, physicians have tended to ignore these arrhythmias or treat them with medications,” Mainigi said.

    A GPS system for treating the heart

    At Einstein, this approach was facilitated by the development of the Biplane Electrophysiology Laboratory.

    The facility houses high-resolution X-ray, ultrasound and three-dimensional mapping that is likened to a GPS system for the heart, enabling our electrophysiologists to perform complex procedures for potentially life-threatening conditions that were previously untreatable.

    Dr. Mainigi is recognized for his work

    Dr. Mainigi presented the preliminary findings of his study at Cardiostim 2010 – a worldwide scientific congress in the field of cardiac electrophysiology held in Nice, France. He is currently preparing the final study for scientific publication.

    Selected by his peers as a Top Doc in Philadelphia magazine and a Top Doctor in U.S. News and World Report, Dr. Mainigi specializes in the treatment of atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias as well as implantation of defibrillators and pacemakers.  Additionally, his treatment of coronary disease with catheter ablation was listed as number twenty in the 2012 "Top Docs" issue's list of "28 Amazing New Ways Philly Doctors Can Save Your Life." Dr. Mainigi has specific interests in supraventricular tachycardia, syncope, biventricular-defibrillators, and novel heart failure treatments. He is active in research in all areas of electrophysiology. 

    Einstein's specialized treatments for complex electrophysiology disorders include:

    • implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs)
    • implantable pacemakers
    • advanced heart mapping
    • complex ablations