Doctors at a University of Utah health system hospital have developed a new procedure that can help reduce the risk of death in patients with severe heart disease.
The procedure, called heart ablative surgery, has been used successfully for patients who have been diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome, a heart disease that occurs when a person’s heart has a clot or blockage and a valve opens.
The technique is being used in two studies, and it could have a role in reducing deaths in patients who are heartbroken, Dr. John Breen, an orthopedic surgeon who led the research, said in a news release.
Heart ablation can also reduce heart attacks and strokes, which are also common in people with heart disease, but its effectiveness in patients in advanced stages of the disease has been controversial.
While many experts believe heart ablations may help patients in less than ideal circumstances, they are rare.
More than 60,000 patients in the United States and more than 70 countries around the world are undergoing the procedure.
Researchers found that the procedure had no significant impact on survival or morbidity in people in the least favorable clinical conditions.
However, in patients undergoing the operation, the heart was blocked more often than in patients without the procedure, the researchers found.
“The results from this trial indicate that there is no benefit in using heart ablated valve replacement for patients in more favorable conditions,” Breen said.
For those in the most unfavorable clinical circumstances, including those who had severe heart failure or congestive heart failure, the surgery might be warranted, according to the researchers.
But in those patients with a mild heart condition, the procedure could provide some relief, they said.
The surgery is now available to patients, who will be required to have a pacemaker implanted, undergo tests and follow-up treatments.
Patients who undergo the procedure and those with heart failure and congestive disease may be able to continue receiving heart therapy.
A similar procedure is being tested in South Africa.