Surgeon performs state's first ultrasonic cardiac surgery
New surgical technology helps Conway Regional treat heart “flutter”
Conway Regional Health System is now using high-frequency ultrasound technology to treat atrial fibrillation, a fluttering effect caused by abnormal beating in the upper chamber of the heart.
Cardiothoracic Surgeon E. J. Chauvin , M.D., became the first surgeon in the state to use the St. Jude Medical EpicorTM Cardiac Ablation System which employs high frequency ultrasound technology to safely block the nerve tissue that is causing atrial fibrillation.
The procedure is used to treat patients who have been diagnosed with heart arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes the upper chamber of the heart (atria) to beat abnormally erratic and fast, or to "flutter."
Dr. Chauvin believes the EpicorTM Cardiac Ablation System will be effective for 80 to 85 percent of all patients who have atrial fibrillation.
Dr. Chauvin performed the procedure on Barbara McBride, age 83 of Russellville, at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 12, at Conway Regional Medical Center. Mrs. McBride was diagnosed with a heart condition by cardiologist Dr. Donald Steely who then referred her to surgeon Dr. Chauvin. Mrs. McBride also underwent a single coronary bypass as part of her surgery which took about two and a half hours to complete.
Mrs. McBride is resting in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) at Conway Regional. She is expected to be released from the medical center this weekend.
Speaking from her room in the CVICU, Mrs. McBride said, "I was impressed that Dr. Chauvin was able to perform the procedure without stopping my heart." She was concerned about interruption of blood flow to her one kidney. She is also happy that Conway Regional was able to house her family in the hospital’s guest house as some of her children live as far away as Dallas . “That was real nice,” she said..
What is atrial fibrillation?
In atrial fibrillation, chaotic electrical impulses cause the atria (upper chamber of the heart) to fibrillate contracting up to 500 times per minute..
Atrial fibrillation can cause shortness of breath and fatigue. Patients with atrial fibrillation are five times more likely to have a stroke, according to health experts. When the heart does not beat effectively blood can pool and form clots, which can lead to stroke or other neurological problems. Atrial fibrillation currently affects millions of people worldwide. The disease is progressive increasing in frequency and severity as patients grow older.
"This is another example of how Conway Regional, as a not-for-profit health system, is committed to investing in new technology to improve the health and well being of our community," said Jim Lambert, Conway Regional's Interim President and CEO/Chief Operating Officer.
Conway Regional attracts patients from throughout North Central Arkansas including Faulkner, Conway, Van Buren, Perry and Pope Counties .
Conway Regional recently announced that it is moving forward with a $25 million, two-story expansion of its women's and surgical services.
"We are fortunate to have an outstanding medical staff of progressive physicians and surgeons who keep abreast of new technologies and techniques in the industry,” added Mr. Lambert. “Our Board of Directors along with the medical staff, continually look for ways for Conway Regional to stay at the forefront of technology to assure that our patients can benefit from this type of state-of-the-art healthcare – right here in Conway.”
(For additional information about this news release or to arrange an interview with Dr. E. J. Chauvin , contact the Conway Regional Marketing and Public Relations Department at 513-5782.)