Rocky Mountain Heart Rhythm Institute at Rose:
Pioneering Treatments for Heart Rhythm Disorders
At Rocky Mountain Heart Rhythm Institute at Rose Medical Center, we are committed to doing things differently.
To get our patients back to heart health, we strive to create treatment plans that use the least invasive option to effectively manage each patient’s disorder.
This includes creating new, innovative minimally-invasive treatment procedures.
Our unparalleled experience makes Rocky Mountain Heart Institute at Rose the premier facility for AFib treatment.
Using cutting-edge procedures, we treat complex congenital heart disease and arrhythmias associated with AFib using the method that is best for the patient. Our RMHRI physicians have perfected advanced treatments for cardiac arrhythmia including cryoballoon and radiofrequency ablation. Rose leads the nation in performing the Convergent Procedure, a treatment for chronic AFib that uniquely combines the best of both traditional catheter and surgical ablation to restore normal heart rhythm – resulting in a viable treatment approach to types of Afib previously thought untreatable. Rose has the only Convergent team in the Western United States. And Rose is among the first hospitals in Colorado to offer the WATCHMAN implant, a groundbreaking treatment that reduces atrial fibrillation (AFib) stroke risk and may eliminate the need for blood thinners in people with non-valvular AFib. For people considered suitable for warfarin by their doctors, but have reason to seek an alternative, WATCHMAN could be an implant-based option. The Rose team also conducts the highly advanced LARIAT™ procedure, another treatment that reduces stroke risk in patients who cannot take blood thinners.
Each patient’s heart is different and requires an individualized approach to treatment. The RMHRI team at Rose Medical Center is one of the best, most diversely trained teams in the country. RMHRI electrophysiologists have performed out treatment procedures more times and with greater success than any other facility in the region. Our physicians and care team are partners in your care, helping you understand which treatment is best suited based on each individual case, patient history and the best opportunity for succes— which is to get you back to heart health and to your life.
Learn More About Rocky Mountain Heart Rhythm Institute at Rose’s Arrhythmia Treatments
AFib ablation utilizes a minimally invasive catheter approach to treat the electrical triggers that cause irregularity in the heartbeat. Cryoballoon ablation is specifically designed to treat the pulmonary veins of the left atrium. While the procedure covers a large surface area of the pulmonary veins, the accuracy with which the ablation is performed in the area ensures a decreased chance of injuring adjacent structures of the heart.
How Does Cryoballoon Ablation Work?
Our physicians use a catheter approach to ablate tissue in the pulmonary veins of the left atrium of the heart. Inserted through the femoral vein in the groin, a specialized catheter enters the right atrium before navigating to the left atrium, the source of the AFib. The balloon-tipped catheter is then positioned in the four pulmonary veins and releases liquid nitrogen designed to immobilize the area of the left atrium causing the irregular heartbeat.
The cells that are intentionally frozen through the cryoballoon ablation procedure are now unable to electrically conduct signals through the heart, therefore decreasing their ability to cause rapid and irregular heart rhythms.
Beginning in the early 1990s and later perfected with the advent of 3D mapping systems, radiofrequency ablation has been the gold standard for AFib treatment for over 20 years. While cryoballoon ablation uses liquid nitrogen to ensure cells are unable to electrically conduct irregular signals through the heart, radiofrequency ablation utilizes radiofrequency to achieve the same result. In more advanced stages of AFib, radiofrequency ablation is used for more focused modifications to the areas of the pulmonary veins.
How Does Radiofrequency Ablation Work?
In a similar fashion as cryoballoon ablation, a catheter inserted through the femoral vein allows direct access to the right atrium of the heart. After navigating to the left atrium, the catheter targets the four pulmonary veins, the AFib triggers in 95 percent of patients.
Radiofrequency ablation is then used to intentionally scar the areas around the pulmonary veins contributing to the AFib. The lesions created isolate and prevent abnormal electrical signals from extending through rest of the heart with the intention to return the heart to its normal rhythm.
In addition to cryoballoon and radiofrequency ablation, a third hybrid approach called the Convergent Procedure may be recommended. The Afib specialists at Rose Medical Center, electrophysiologists (EP) Dr. Tom Svinarich and Dr. Christopher Stees, paired with cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Jason Sperling pioneered this new procedure that combines 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.
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.
The Rocky Mountain Heart Rhythm Institute (RMHRI) at Rose Medical Center now provides the WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) device, a treatment that reduces atrial fibrillation stroke risk and may eliminate the need for blood thinners in people with non-valvular AFib. For people considered suitable for warfarin by their doctors, but have reason to seek an alternative, WATCHMAN could be an implant-based option.
Rose Medical Center offers the groundbreaking LARIAT™ procedure for patients with atrial fibrillation that may reduce their risk for stroke when they cannot take blood thinners due to special circumstances. The LARIAT™ procedure utilizes the LARIAT™ Suture Delivery Device and non-invasive techniques to access the heart and close off a region of the heart known to cause blood clots that can lead to stroke as a consequence of atrial fibrillation.
The LARIAT™ procedure is performed by a team comprised of Rose electrophysiologists J. Thomas Svinarich, MD, and Christopher Stees, DO, with the support of cardiac surgeon Jason Sperling, MD. The left atrial appendage (LAA) is accessed using minimally invasive techniques and a pre-tied suture loop is delivered. This seals off the LAA from the rest of the heart preventing blood clots that form in this area from traveling to the brain and causing a stroke. For patients at risk for stroke due to AFib, the non-invasive LARIAT™ procedure offers an alternative treatment for those unable to take blood thinning medications typically used to treat AFib.