Press Releases & Announcements

Danbury Hospital Performs First Hybrid Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation

Thursday, December 08, 2011 - Danbury, CT

New, Multi-disciplinary Approach Addresses Difficult to Treat Afib Populations

Signaling a new frontier in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, The Praxair Regional Heart and Vascular Center at Danbury Hospital recently announced that it had performed its First Hybrid Ablation for the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation, also known as Afib. The procedure combines the best of endoscopic surgical and catheter ablation techniques into a single, minimally invasive procedure without chest incisions that results in less pain, faster recovery and better long-term outcomes.

The multi-disciplinary hybrid ablation procedure was performed by Drs. Murali Chiravuri, Robert Winslow, and Eugene Fernandes, cardiac physician experts in electrophysiology (EP) and cardiothoracic surgery. “It is hoped that the combination of surgical and electrophysiology techniques will enhance our capability to ultimately treat all Afib patients in a single procedure,” said Dr. Murali Chiravuri, electrophysiologist.

Hybrid Ablation Unites the Best of Both Approaches

According to Drs. Chiravuri and Fernandes, the procedure uses radiofrequency energyto produce scar tissue on the heart to block abnormal electrical signals. The cardiothoracic surgeon performs a linear lesion pattern (“Maze”) on the outside surface of a beating heart through a small incision (2 cm) made in the patient’s abdomen, instead of through invasive chest incisions and/or ports, as in other surgical procedures. The electrophysiologist then threads a catheter through the patient’s femoral vein, in the groin, and performs an endocardial catheter ablation to fill any gaps in the ablation pattern, and utilizes diagnostic techniques to confirm all abnormal electrical signals have been interrupted. The entire procedure lasts roughly the same time of a conventional cathether ablation procedure, but the addition of lesions on the outside of the heart leads to a more comprehensive and durable result allowing ablation to be performed on patients with longstanding atrial fibrillation.“The typical hospital stay following a hybrid ablation for atrial fibrillation is two to three days, and patients go back to resuming daily activities quickly,” said Dr. Chiravuri.

“The uniqueness of combining surgical and electrophysiology techniques will enhance physicians’ capability to ultimately treat all Afib patients in a single procedure,” said Dr. Eugene Fernandes, cardiothoracic surgeon. “This is especially good news for patients with longstanding or resistant Atrial Fibrillation, excluding patients with structural heart disease, who may have previously failed on other treatments.”

About Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network is a patient-centered health care organization established in 2010 by two nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and their affiliated organizations, to provide the highest level of care to patients throughout Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. In addition to the two hospitals, other network affiliates include:

  • An integrated physician practice with primary and specialty care expertise
  • An agency for home care and community health services
  • A full-service retail pharmacy located at Danbury Hospital
  • Emergency medical services
  • An occupational wellness and medicine program, providing services for business and industry

Western Connecticut Health Network has centers of excellence in Women’s, neonatal, cardiovascular and cancer services; weight loss and orthopedic surgery; digestive disorders and radiology and diagnostic imaging. It also offers specialized programs for sleep disorders and asthma management.  Both hospitals also maintain active clinical research programs, offering clinical trials for patients with cancer and other health concerns.

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About Danbury Hospital

Danbury Hospital is a 371-bed regional medical center and university teaching hospital associated with the University of Vermont College of Medicine, the Yale University School of Medicine, the Connecticut School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center.  The hospital is nationally recognized as a tertiary health care center with an innovative high-tech, high-touch environment and is also a member of the Planetree organization. In addition to offering the latest robotic and minimally invasive surgical and imaging technology, it was the first hospital in Connecticut to adopt electronic health records systems. It offers a Level II Trauma Center and Level IIIb Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Medical staff members are board-certified in their specialties, and most serve as faculty members of the nation’s finest university medical centers offering a higher level of experience. 

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About New Milford Hospital

New Milford Hospital is a Planetree organization dedicated to patient-centered care that nurtures every patient's body, mind and spirit.  The Hospital has an extraordinary tradition of warm and caring personal attention backed by top-notch physicians, world-class technology and the newest, most advanced diagnostic and treatment options available. Your healthcare team of highly trained physicians, nurses, technicians and administrators is determined and committed to improving the health and quality of life of those we serve.

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