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New heart arrhythmia procedure underway at St. Elizabeth’s

BELLEVILLE – A complex procedure added to the Prairie Heart Institute at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital this fall has benefited patients with heart arrhythmias.

The procedure, called a cardiac ablation, was used to treat Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) in a 66 year-old male patient. Atrial fibrillation is a common rhythm disturbance from the top chambers of the heart. The procedure, using radiofrequency energy for ablation, was performed by Dr. Paban Saha, an Electrophysiologist with Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants, and part of the Prairie Arrhythmia Network. This technique is much more effective, though more complicated, than cryo-ablations, he said.

This was the first ablation performed with radiofrequency ablation in the Metro East area. Between September and mid-December, Saha sucessfully performed 13 additional procedures.

“For patients who have failed other forms of therapy for A-Fib, an ablation can significantly improve quality of life,” said Bonita Schneider, MS, RT, director of Heart and Vascular Services at St. Elizabeth’s. “I’m so proud of the many team members from our Catheterization Lab, Respiratory, Anesthesia, Cardiothoracic and Prairie Cardiovascular staff who collaborated to make this procedure successful.”

It is estimated today that five million Americans have A-Fib and that in the next 50 years that number will increase to at least 12 million. While medication can control A-fib in many patients, some continue to have symptoms despite treatment with multiple medications. Symptoms can range from shortness of breath, dizziness, extreme fatigue and other symptoms that can affect a patient’s quality of life. For these patients, an ablation procedure can drastically reduce their symptoms from A-Fib, and can, many times, eliminate the need for anti-arrhythmic medications.

Saha is a graduate of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He completed fellowship in cardiology at Northwestern University and electrophysiology fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, his residency in Internal Medicine was also completed at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Heart Rhythm Society, American College of Cardiology, and the American Heart Association.

St. Elizabeth’s Prairie Heart Institute has been named a Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospital in the country by Truven Health Analytics for three consecutive years. St. Elizabeth’s is also a partner of the nationally recognized Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants, the largest group of cardiologists in the tri-state region who staff the Prairie Heart Institute at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital along with a network of community-based hospitals offering cardiovascular programs.

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