Rose Medical Center
February 02, 2015


DENVER – Feb. 2, 2015 – Atrial fibrillation (Afib) specialists at Rose Medical Center’s new heart rhythm disorders treatment center have combined their unique skills in a new, minimally invasive approach to restore normal heart rhythm in even the most difficult-to-treat patients suffering from persistent and long-standing forms of Afib. This persistent condition has historically been very difficult to treat.

Electrophysiologists (EP) Dr. Tom Svinarich and Dr. Christopher Stees pair with cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Jason Sperling to combine the best of both traditional catheter and surgical ablation treatments at Rose to perform the “Convergent” approach. Clinical experience has shown that this team approach improves the early and mid-term outcomes for the most challenging patients and reduces procedure times when compared to single disciplinary approaches.

“Traditional surgical ablation approaches are significantly more invasive, requiring chest incisions or ports, and lung deflation,” said Dr. Sperling, cardiothoracic surgeon with Cardiothoracic Surgery Associates at Rose. “The Convergent approach is the only truly minimally invasive option, without chest incisions, that allows for access to the back side of the left atrium under direct endoscopic visibility, without any time spent in an operating room. The ‘convergent’ is the one-two punch of external ablation of the back wall combined with internal ablation of the pulmonary veins, using the most efficacious technologies available.”

Utilizing the Convergent approach, a cardiac surgeon and an EP work as a team to perform cardiac ablation on a beating heart in the electrophysiology laboratory (not the operating room) to produce lesions (scar tissue) on the heart in order to block abnormal electrical signals. The surgeon is able to create intentional burns on the outside of the heart by accessing the heart through a small hole created in the diaphragm with an initial small (1 inch) incision in the patient’s abdomen. The EP then threads an ablation catheter through the femoral vein in the groin to reach the inside of the heart to perform complex electrical-anatomic mapping and to ablate abnormal signals that occur in predictable locations on the inside of the left atrium (specifically in and around the pulmonary veins).

“The primary advantage for the EP is the ability to isolate the posterior wall of the left atrium safely and effectively,” said Dr. Svinarich, EP with Colorado Heart and Vascular at Rose. “With this complementary access and ablation tool, EPs may utilize best practices to standardize new procedures to ensure ablation completeness and predict substantially better outcomes than have ever been seen before for persistent forms of Afib.”

“The Heart and Vascular Center at Rose is setting a new standard of care for cardiovascular patients, including a focus on those living with Afib,” said Dr. Stees, EP with Colorado Heart and Vascular at Rose. “Patients with Afib are at an increased risk of stroke and heart-related death, so providing safe and effective treatment options is essential, and I’m proud that we are providing new treatment options and better care for our patients at Rose.”

About Rose Medical Center
Well known as a Denver institution and a 9th Avenue landmark for more than 60 years, Rose Medical Center has earned its reputation as Denver's "Baby Hospital" while becoming a leader in comprehensive women's, surgical and endoscopy services, heart and vascular, orthopedics, total joint replacement, bariatrics, and sports, internal and aesthetic medicine. With origins in Jewish teachings, traditions and community, Rose’s founders built this hospital to “serve the need of every creed.”

By offering a high level of expertise and service across all disciplines, Rose has truly become a destination hospital, attracting patients from throughout Colorado and around the world. Learn more at