People with dilated cardiomyopathy may benefit more from catheter ablation

22nd January 2016

People with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) who have a medical procedure called catheter ablation may benefit more than those with other heart diseases undergoing the treatment, suggests a new study.

Researchers, including those at the Barts Heart Centre in London and Alfred Hospital in Australia, were looking at the invasive procedure used to correct faulty electrical pathways in the heart responsible for heart rhythm problems such as atrial fibrillation (AF), atrial flutter and very fast heart rhythms.

They looked at the long term effects of the treatment in 101 patients between 2002 and 2014. Twenty four of them had DCM due to an unknown cause.

They all had pumping problems with the heart - including a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of less than 45 per cent. After three years those with dilated cardiomyopathy had better heart function and an improved ejection fraction. Those who did best (with an ejection fraction up by more than 15 per cent) overwhelmingly had DCM.

During a catheter ablation, catheters (thin, flexible wires) are put into a blood vessel in the arm, upper thigh, or neck and guided into the heart. A machine sends heat-producing radio waves through the wires to destroy the small areas of heart where abnormal heartbeats may cause the irregular rhythms to start.

The study was published online in the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology.

“Idiopathic DCM was associated with greater AF control and improvement in symptoms and LVEF, compared to patients with known heart disease post AF ablation,” said lead author Dr Sandeep Prabhu, from the Alfred Hospital, and colleagues. “AF is an important reversible cause of heart failure in patients with an unexplained cardiomyopathy, and catheter ablation is an effective treatment option.”

For more details see here.