July 12, 2007 07:15 ET

ORLive Presents: Sutter Health Sacramento - Totally Thoracoscopic Epicardial Radiofrequency Surgical Ablation Procedure for Atrial Fibrillation

Live Webcast: From Sutter Health: Tuesday, July 24, 2007 4 PM PST (23:00 UTC)

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire - July 12, 2007) - On Tuesday, July 24 at 4 PM (PST), Sutter Health in Sacramento, California, will broadcast a totally thoracoscopic (TT) epicardial surgical ablation procedure for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF) on, featuring James Longoria, MD. This novel approach uses bilateral working ports to access the key anatomy necessary to achieve all goals of the procedure. The procedure includes pulmonary vein (Antrum) isolation, electrophysiologic testing and ablation of the ganglionated plexi (nerves on the surface of the heart), division of the Ligament of Marshall (a potentially arrhythmogenic structure), caval and connecting ablation lesions of both the left and right atria, and exclusion of the left atrial appendage.

Atrial fibrillation carries a five-time increased risk of stroke which may be significantly reduced by exclusion of the left atrial appendage. One of an emerging group of cardiothoracic surgeons performing this totally thoracoscopic procedure, Dr. Longoria is helping to pioneer the next evolution of the epicardial surgical ablation procedure, working to reduce procedure and recovery time while enhancing patient safety.

Smaller incisions may reduce postoperative pain and provide a more rapid return to normal activities than traditional entry methods. "We use 5 and 10 millimeter ports which reduce postoperative pain, resulting in hospital stays of between 48-72 hours. The typical return to normal activity without restrictions is between 7 to 10 days which is significantly shorter than an open chest approach," Dr. Longoria affirms. Procedure time is reduced to about two hours with the patient remaining in a supine position during the entire operation followed by prompt termination of general anesthesia. The minimally invasive epicardial ablation approach builds on the foundational work of Dr. Randy Wolf of the University of Cincinnati (Wolf MiniMaze®™).

Dr. Longoria has performed over 30 totally thoracoscopic procedures at Sutter Sacramento, as well as numerous concomitant (open chest) procedures done secondary to coronary bypass and valve repair. "We have considered the Cox Maze III procedure on cardiopulmonary bypass as the standard operative treatment. Now we can offer a similar operation with a minimally invasive epicardial beating-heart approach using (bipolar) radiofrequency ablation and intraoperative testing."

Dr. Larry Wolff, a Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiologist (EP) from Electrophysiology of Sacramento, will join Dr. Longoria in moderating the case and discuss the types of patients he refers to this procedure. Dr. Wolff will also discuss the epidemiology of the condition, as well as the intraoperative testing which mimics the testing done in an EP lab.

Currently, it is estimated that over 5 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation. A recent study published by the Mayo Clinic estimates that given the current rate of increase, between 12 and 15 million Americans will suffer from AF by 2050. In terms of public health, AF can lead to irreversible heart damage and stroke. While blood thinners such as Coumadin® are often prescribed to reduce the risk of stroke, many patients have contraindications or can not tolerate these products.

The Heart Rhythm Society, the American College of Cardiology and a number of other cardiac-focused organizations have recently published a consensus statement with regard to atrial fibrillation. The consensus statement includes surgical ablation as one of the treatment options which include medical management and catheter ablation. For more information on the consensus statement, visit

Questions from healthcare professionals and the general public can be sent in during this live event via email. These will be addressed during the broadcast, time permitting.

This event is being sponsored through grants provided by AtriCure, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATRC) Drs. Longoria and Wolff are paid consultants for the company for physician training related to the procedure. This activity does not offer CME credit.

*Coumadin® is a registered trademark of the Bristol-Meyers Squibb Company.

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Contact Information

  • Contact:

    Alex Fraser
    Director of Marketing
    slp3D, Inc / OR-Live™
    860-953-2900 x 214
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