Largo Medical Center June 30, 2014

Largo, FL – In the world of electrophysiology studies, tests that study the electrical pathways of your heart, Largo Medical Center’s AFib and Heart Rhythm Center is at the forefront when it comes to treatment of abnormal heartbeats, Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib. The hospital is now home to the ThermoCool SmartTouch catheter. Electrophysiologists use this catheter to get a patient’s heart beating normally. Largo Medical Center’s, Shalin Shah, MD, is the first electrophysiologist in Pinellas County to perform a procedure using this device earlier this month.

“AFib is the most common heart rhythm disorder,” said Shalin Shah, MD, Largo Medical Center electrophysiologist. “In the last 15 years, we have made significant strides in our understanding of AFib as well as in the technology that helps us get closer to a permanent cure.”

In the treatment of AFib, catheters are used to apply radiofrequency energy, an ablation, to the heart wall. This ablation creates lesions blocking faulty electrical impulses that cause AFib. Until now, electrophysiologists have not been able to see exactly how much contact force they are using through catheters. With this catheter, a sensor at the tip of it, measures the amount of contact force showing too much or too little contact.

“With too little force, lesions can be ineffective and with too much, complications can sometimes arise," said Dr. Shah. “The patients I have treated so far at Largo Medical Center are doing excellent. We will see them in follow-up in 4-6 weeks post-op.”

Long term results will be learned 3 – 6 months post-op.

“It’s technology like this and physicians like Dr. Shah that assist our hospital’s staff in successfully taking care of our patients,” said Anthony Degina, CEO at Largo Medical Center.

An estimated 3-million Americans suffer from AFib, a progressive disease that increases in severity and frequency. If left untreated, it can lead to chronic fatigue, congestive heart failure and stroke. The AFib and Heart Rhythm Center at Largo Medical Center is one of seven locations across the Tampa Bay area. Locations include Brandon Regional Hospital, Edward White Hospital, Largo Medical Center, Palms of Pasadena Hospital, Northside Hospital, Regional Medical Center at Bayonet Point and St. Petersburg General Hospital.

To learn more about this catheter, call the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Largo Medical Center at 727-348-1896.