HCPLive Network

Alcohol Ablations More Effective in Blocking Atrial Fibrillation than Standard Therapy

Atrial fibrillation can be treated by adding a little ethanol to minimally invasive therapies, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

By adding 4 or fewer injections of 98% ethanol to the catheter-aided radio wave ablation of nerve clusters near the vein of Marshall, the nerves triggering arrhythmia were damaged or killed. Doctors were then unable to artificially trigger atrial fibrillation using electricity, which is used to determine if ablations were successful.

“Radiofrequency ablation carries risks of collateral damage to other structures and there are also risks associated with surgical approaches,” Miguel Valderrábano, MD, chief of cardiac electrophysiology at Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, said in a press release. “We show that chemical ablation with alcohol can achieve elimination of abnormal nerve activity, introducing a catheter through a neck vein and doing all the work through it.”

Instead of current standard surgical therapy, a concentrated radio wave that causes tissues in small areas to burn and scar, the alcohol therapy appeared to be more effective. Additionally, the researchers hope that the alcohol ablations would improve effectiveness of standard therapies. Currently, patients sometimes need a second ablation months or years later. Valderrábano and others are investigating improvements to ablation procedures so they only need to be completed once.

Further Reading
Prescription medications for mental health diagnoses (e.g. antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers) consume approximately 25% of commercial health insurers’ pharmacy budgets and almost 35% of public payers’ pharmacy spending. In 2011, an estimated 26.8 million US adults—more than 11%—took prescription medications for mental illness.
A letter published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association presents the first microbiologic pathogens trend analysis in hospitalized patients in the United States.
As people spend more time sitting and working in front of computer screens, studies have shown the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) has grown. A team of researchers recently worked to take a deeper look at specific factors and their roles in the development in the condition.
Because a key antiviral defense mechanism is present in asthmatics, another defect in their immune system must explain their difficulty combating respiratory viruses, according to researchers from Washington University in St. Louis.
Reports indicate the patient presented with Ebola-like symptoms at a local emergency room and told staff he had recently traveled to Africa. If so, why wasn’t CDC protocol followed, and why was the man sent home?
Concerned about a mysterious outbreak of pediatric paralysis, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has asked physicians to report any similar cases. In Denver, CO, 10 children have been admitted to Children’s Hospital Colorado with limb weakness and paralysis since Aug. 1, according to the hospital.
Young and middle-aged heart attack survivors are more likely to have poor health and low quality of life if they have fewer family and friends to support them in their recovery, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
More Reading