Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David’s Medical Center first in U.S. to treat patient in study to evaluate balloon ablation catheter for treating Atrial Fibrillation

February 19, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas—The Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute (TCAI) at St. David’s Medical Center recently performed the first procedure in the U.S. using the new HELIOSTAR Multi-electrode Radiofrequency (RF) Balloon Ablation Catheter as part of the STELLAR study. The study is designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the catheter in treating intermittent atrial fibrillation (A Fib), the most common type of irregular heartbeat.

Rodney Horton, M.D., an electrophysiologist at TCAI, treated the first patient in the study with Andrea Natale, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.H.R.S., F.E.S.C., executive medical director at TCAI.

“The new balloon catheter could potentially make it easier and faster to isolate the pulmonary veins in order to treat A Fib,” Dr. Horton said. “It is unique because it conforms to any pulmonary vein anatomy and allows us to control electrodes individually to deliver tailored energy during ablation.”

The HELIOSTAR RF Balloon Ablation Catheter has 10 electrodes, which allow electrophysiologists to deliver different levels of energy depending on the tissue during lesion creation. In addition, the balloon design makes it possible to isolate pulmonary veins with a single application of RF energy.

“The catheter design has the potential to overcome the limitations of current balloon ablation catheters,” Dr. Natale said. “Current balloon-based technologies often require the use of multiple sizes of balloons, which carries risk and can be time consuming. This system has one balloon that can adjust to whatever size is required, resulting in shorter procedure times.”

Up to 640 patients in as many as 40 clinical sites worldwide will be enrolled in the STELLAR study.

It is estimated that 33 million people worldwide are living with A Fib, which can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. 

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Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute

Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute (TCAI) at St. David’s Medical Center is one of the world’s preeminent centers dedicated to the latest treatment advances for correcting abnormal heart rhythms such as Atrial Fibrillation (A Fib). The center is led by Executive Medical Director Andrea Natale, M.D., a world-renowned expert in the field. Natale is at the forefront of advancing treatment for A Fib, leading numerous clinical trials and participating in the development of new technologies and procedures.

St. David’s Medical Center

St. David’s Medical Center, which is part of St. David’s HealthCare, is a full-service medical center offering comprehensive medical care at three locations—St. David’s Medical Center, Heart Hospital of Austin and St. David’s Georgetown Hospital.

Located in Central Austin, St. David’s Medical Center includes a 374-bed acute care hospital and a 64-bed rehabilitation hospital providing comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care. It is home to the internationally renowned Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute and St. David’s Neuroscience & Spine Institute. The hospital provides a complete range of women’s services, including its acclaimed maternity unit, maternal-fetal medicine, a high-risk maternal and neonatal transport team, the region’s largest Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and The Breast Center; complex surgical services; a comprehensive Bariatric Surgery Center; and a 24-hour emergency department. In 2018, St. David’s Medical Center was named among the Top 50 Hospitals in the nation by Healthgrades.

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