Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Therapy Offered At Cookeville Regional

Dr. Mark Wathen
The Heart and Vascular Center at Cookeville Regional now offers something called cryoablation therapy to help patients suffering from irregular heart rhythms. Unlike traditional ablation treatments that use radiofrequency, or heat, to destroy faulty electrical circuits in the heart, cryoablation freezes or removes heat from the cells, giving physicians the flexibility to freeze the tissue that is interrupting the heart’s normal rhythm or very accurately pinpoint and ablate problematic tissue.

“The value of the new cryoablation technology over existing ablation methods is that by adhering to heart tissue in very targeted areas, it allows physicians to accurately pinpoint the dysfunctional cells while preserving nearby tissue,” said Dr. Mark Wathen, CRMC cardiologist and specialist in electrophysiology/heart arrhythmias. “With this minimally invasive procedure, patients benefit from the assurance that their heart will be restored to a normal rhythm and they will be able to resume normal activity within a week.”

Thousands of Americans suffer from right atrial heart arrhythmias, which can impair quality of life and cause other life-threatening conditions, including heart attack and stroke. Initial symptoms of arrhythmia can include racing heart, palpitations, dizziness and weakness. Patients who experience such symptoms should see their physician. After a full evaluation and diagnosis, Dr. Wathen can perform cryoablation on an outpatient basis. Patients are lightly sedated while the physician threads a thin catheter through a vein in the groin, and up to the heart. The physician then uses the catheter to create focal lesions, identify and ablate problematic tissue with precision and accuracy. After the procedure, patients are usually able to return home the same day and resume normal activities within one week.

Since 1994 The Heart and Vascular Center at Cookeville Regional has provided much needed cardiac and vascular services in the Upper Cumberland. Since its opening, the Center has grown and expanded to include not only comprehensive diagnostic tests and treatments but also interventional procedures such as angioplasty, stent placement, pacemakers, electrophysiology and arrhythmia procedures, implantable cardioverter defibrillator implantation and cardiothoracic surgery (including beating heart, minimally invasive heart surgeries as well as heart valve repair and replacement). Some of the most common vascular conditions treated are aortic aneurysm, carotid artery disease and peripheral artery disease.