Patients with atrial fibrillation experience an abnormal heartbeat, usually faster than normal. The standard of care for this is typically a pulmonary vein ablation. The vein was always targeted because for years, it was assumed that the condition stemmed from the vein. Now, Dr. Nasir Marrouche with the University of Utah, Salt Lake City’s CARMA Center suggests that we’re placing our focus on the wrong direction.

Using a specialized MRI (delayed enhancement magnetic resonance imaging, or DE-MRI) before the ablation treatment, doctors can actually triage patients based on which patients are likely to have a higher success rate.

Basically, the DE-MRI reveals the state of fibrosis, which directly correlates with how well the treatment went.

Marrouche collected 260 atrial fibrillation patients from 15 centers, including centers from the USA, Europe, and Australia.

The results were as follows:

  • Patients with Stage 1 – 85.8% success rate
  • Patients with Stage 2 – 63.3% success rate
  • Patients with Stage 3 – 55% success rate
  • Patients with Stage 4 – 31% success rate

For each percentage of fibrosis identified before the ablation, the patients had a 6.3% higher change of recurring symptoms afterwards.

For each percentage of residual fibrosis, patients had an 8.2% higher chance of recurring symptoms.

However, previous condition was not the only factor found to impact the treatment’s success rate. The way the doctors administered the treatment was up to their discretion, however, Marrouche noticed that different tactics produced different results.

While the focus was usually to perform the ablation on the vein, they found that targeting the most ablated fibrotic tissue was best way to administer the treatment.

For more information, you can find the full article from Medical News Today, here. For more information on MRIs and their other functions, call us today.

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