One of Britain’s leading specialists in the treatment of severe arrhythmia, Dr Richard Schilling, has developed a new and more effective procedure at London Bridge Hospital.
It is the first time this new dual procedure has been performed worldwide. It involves a normal radio frequency ablation operation combined with the cryo ablation procedure which increases the effectiveness of the treatment.
Radio frequency (RF) ablation uses microwaves to create scar tissue around the inside of the veins draining blood from the lungs to the heart. The scar tissue prevents rogue electrical currents in the veins from disrupting the normal rhythm of the heart. But in some cases the tiny electrical currents can still get through and treatment has to be repeated.
In the new procedure, after the RF ablation, Dr Schilling inflates a balloon in the veins with super cooled gas which freezes a ring of cells around the veins. When the cells thaw out, the cell walls are damaged and this again blocks electrical currents and stops disruption of a normal heartbeat.
“Obviously if we can treat any condition in the heart first time it is far better for the patient,” said Dr Schilling. “It reduces risk and reduces the stress and anxiety for the patient and allows them to get back to leading a normal life much faster.”
“I have been looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of our treatments for some time and decided to try combining these two methods. What we have found so far is that this has made a difference and improved first time success,” he said. After completing around a dozen dual procedures, Dr Schilling wants to develop a long term trial.
The first patient to undergo the new treatment was Sky TV rugby league commentator Mike “Stevo” Stephenson. He said he was now able to work and relax with friends without the fear that he would have an attack of severe palpitations. “You never knew when it was going to happen and when it did I was really ill for four or five days. But now I feel great,” he said.
Dr Schilling leads a team of three cardiologists specialising in the treatment of arrhythmia at London AF centre at London Bridge Hospital. For more details on the treatment of the condition, please call 020 7234 2497.