Dr. Thosani discusses the convergence of technology and physiology, treatment advancements, and virtual medicine capabilities in the field of heart arrhythmia.
Advancements in the field of cardiac arrhythmia treatment have been significant the past decade or so, as the uniqueness of the field meets the capability of new technologies.
In a recent interview with HCPLive, Amit Thosani, MD, Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Allegheny Health Network, gave his perceptive on the convergence of technology and physiology, as well as the general growth of patients being treated for heart rhythm problems.
"In many case, we're able to cure a number of those rhythm issues," Thosani said. "While we may not be able to fully cure some rhythm-related issues, we can certainly help manage them better than we were able to with just medications. I think it's been a very dynamic number of years.
He highlighted many of those newer treatments with specific focus on safer and more effective technologies that deliver energy to the heart in order to prevent rhythm disorders from perpetuating or beginning. Safety signals have also improved as physicians can work to reduce radiation exposure and lower multi-day stays in the hospital to same-day procedures.
The main driver in the adult population in the United States who experience heart rhythm disorders remains atrial fibrillation, which affects millions of patients. The introduction of safer and more thorough treatments can help patients recover faster
"I think the treatment advances, particularly in the realm of catheter ablation, have helped manage treatment and get patients back to their lives and back to activity faster and often better and more durably than our previous treatments with this medication have," Thosani added.
With complications to care, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the introduction of virtual medicine was a game changer in electrophysiology, said Thosani. As the field requires both one-on-one conversation and reviewing objective data, technology has allowed diagnosis to continue.
Both consumer products and traditional diagnostic testing collect data for clinicians to monitor and share information and virtual interactions allow a more patient-centric care strategy, Thosani added.
"Our experience has been that patients enjoy the capability of having a consultation with a review of the key information in a virtual environment and keep their care moving faster than otherwise we'd be able to," Thosani said.
As September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month, Thosani explained that being awareness of AF can ultimately benefit patients because symptoms may often be differently experienced. For some, it can be minimally symptomatic and others, it can be debilitating with an entire spectrum in-between.
"I think that being vigilant and understanding that listen, if you're not feeling great, if something's wrong, if your heart's racing, you're feeling palpitations, you're short of breath, you don't have quite the same exercise capacity that you used to, it's time to see your doctor and figure those things out," he said.
Thosani noted that the field of heart rhythm care continues to be exciting and patients are fortunate as there are medications and procedures that can be tailored to a patient's direct needs.
"I think there's really good treatments available, that we can individualize to our patient's needs to make sure that we're getting people back to life and back to health," he concluded. "It's really a privilege to be part of that.