CONTACT:Joanna Palmer
Public Relations Manager
JPalmer2@msmc.com
305-674-2589

Dr. Angelo LaPietra a Leader in Closed-Chest Procedure to Treat Atrial Fibrillation

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – (Feb. 9, 2010) – Chronic atrial fibrillation (A Fib) patients in South Florida can rest easier knowing that one area medical center -Mount Sinai Heart Institute in Miami Beach – is the only Florida hospital performing the Hybrid Maze Procedure. For persistent A Fib sufferers, convergent endo-epicardial ablation, commonly referred to as the Hybrid Maze Procedure, may eliminate symptoms that medications and single ablation treatments generally cannot. Mount Sinai’s Dr. Angelo LaPietra is a leader in the closed-chest cath lab procedure, which utilizes the combined approach of surgical and electrophysiological techniques to improve the prospects for chronic A Fib patients, considered the most challenging of all to treat. “Single ablation procedures are only effective about 50-60% of the time, and medications often leave patients ‘feeling sick’ all the time,” La Pietra said. “Right now, Hybrid Maze is the only available treatment that truly improves their lifestyle.” According to LaPietra, who began performing the procedure in May, init al studies have shown Hybrid Maze is effective in 85-90% of patients who remained in normal sinus rhythm during the first six to eight months after undergoing the procedure. A Fib is an irregular and often rapid heart rhythm caused by abnormal electrical impulses in the heart. Multiple impulses travel through the atria at the same time, causing irregular, disorganized, chaotic, and very rapid contractions and discomfort. The benefits of Mount Sinai’s Hybrid Maze Procedure, such as eliminating discomfort and daily medication regimens, come as welcome news to A Fib patients, particularly those with large atria that leads to persistent or chronic A Fib who are not candidates for traditional single ablation. Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach is among Florida’s most renowned heart hospitals. New York’s Columbia University Medical Center is ranked among the nation’s top cardiovascular programs. The two centers have joined forces to take the best heart care and make it better for South Florida through the newly established Mount Sinai Heart Institute, A Partnership with New York’s Columbia University. The relationship was developed to improve care through collaboration.

About the Hybrid Maze Procedure:

  • It is for patients with chronic A Fib and enlarged left atria – patients who typically are difficult to treat even with several single electrophysiology catheter ablations.
  • The convergent approach provides an option for these patients that didn’t exist previously.
  • The cardiac surgeon makes small incisions to access the heart to create surgical lesions that block A Fib triggers and pathways.
  • Following the surgeon’s portion, an electrophysiologist uses cardiac mapping technology to find and plug any small gaps in the surgical lesions.
  • The EP portion of the treatment is similar to standard A Fib ablation, but requires less time because the surgeon previously eliminated the most significant problem areas.
  • The combined approach typically is viewed as safer and providing improved outcomes.
  • A minimally invasive procedure, patients generally experience minimal discomfort and recovery time.

About A Fib:

  • A Fib is known as the “silent killer” because if often goes unnoticed.
  • It is a disorder found in approximately two million Americans. Florida has the nation’s third largest population of A Fib patients.
  • In A Fib, the heart’s upper chambers (atria) quiver instead of beating properly potentially not pumping out all blood, leaving it to pool and possibly clot.
  • When a piece of a blood clot leaves the heart and lodges in an artery of the brain, it causes a stroke.

About Mount Sinai Medical Center

Founded in 1949, Mount Sinai Medical Center is the largest independent, private, not-for-profit teaching hospital in South Florida. Mount Sinai’s Centers of Excellence combine technology, research and academics to provide innovative and comprehensive care in Cardiology, Neurology, Oncology and Orthopaedics.  One of only six statutory teaching hospitals in the state, Mount Sinai is the hospital of choice for those who seek the level of expertise and care that only a teaching hospital can offer.  The medical center’s commitment to quality has garnered prestigious recognition, including designation in 2009 as one of America’s Top Hospitals for Geriatrics, Neurology and Neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report.