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Freezing Therapy Efficiently Treats Common Heart Rhythm Disorder


St. John’s Regional Medical Center (SJRMC), a Dignity Health Hospital is proud to be the first and only hospital in Ventura County performing Cryoablation, an innovative procedure for atrial fibrillation (Afib) - a common heart rhythm disorder. Procedures have been successfully performed by cardiac electrophysiologist, Ali Sovari, MD. 

“The cryoablation is a new Afib ablation technique that restores normal heart rhythm by disabling or isolating abnormal cells that create irregular heartbeats,” said Dr. Sovari. “More than 80 percent of patients with paroxysmal Afib treated with the cryoballoon achieve freedom from Afib at one year.” 

Compared to the older Afib ablation technique, the cryoballoon ablation technique is associated with significantly fewer hospitalizations for heart disease and a reduction in the need to repeat the procedure as shown in a recent large multicenter clinical trial. 

“We are excited to be the first and only hospital in Ventura County to offer this innovative, life-saving technology to our community,” said Darren Lee, President and CEO of Dignity Health St. John’s Regional Medical Center and St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital. 

SJRMC acquired the highly specialized Cryoconsole that allows doctors to perform the cyoablation procedure. During this outpatient procedure, a thin flexible tube called a balloon catheter is used to locate and freeze the heart tissue that triggers an irregular heartbeat. Symptomatic patients who are diagnosed with Afib are candidates for this procedure.

“Recent studies have found cryoablation to be significantly more effective and deliver better outcomes than medication, Dr. Sovari added. “In certain patients, the older technique using radiofrequency energy may still be the preferred method for catheter ablation of Afib.” 

The technique has been shown to improve quality of life for patients and significantly reduce symptoms, with patients experiencing reduction in Afib episodes, palpitations, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, swelling, and syncope. 

Afib is a common, yet serious, irregular heart rhythm disorder that affects 33.5 million people worldwide. It is estimated that half of all diagnosed patients fail drug therapy, and patients with Afib can have up to a five times higher risk of stroke and an increased chance of developing heart failure. 

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