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Tag Team for Tickers: Hybrid Help for Hearts

A tag team approach to fixing tickers that suffer from atrial fibrillation.


It hit more than two million people in 2010 and it's expected to hit up to twelve million by 2050.

Atrial fibrillation can make your heart beat out of whack and can cause some serious health problems.

Now, doctors are doubling up to help patients beat it when other treatments can't do the job.

For year, Michael Link struggled to do anything because of chronic atrial fibrillation.

Link says, "It limits what you can do physically."

Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm that made him feel exhausted all the time.

The condition can also lead to strokes.

Surgery and medication did not help Michael.

Link: "I was a hard case."

So he tried a new hybrid procedure called N-Contact. 

It's like two surgeries in one.

Dr. V. Seenu Reddy says, "It is a variant of open heart surgery. We are operating on the beating heart."

First Doctor Seenu Reddy inserts a catheter under the diaphragm to get to the heart.

Then he burns large areas on the exterior to stop the electrical signals that can trigger Atrial fibrillation.

Dr. Reddy: "We're delivering energy to the heart."

Next, Doctor Gregory Bashian goes in with a smaller catheter to do the work that Reddy couldn't reach.

Dr. Gregory Bashian says, "Sharp shoot the gaps of certain places where his catheter can't get to from the outside of the heart but, uh, mine can from the inside."

The entire ablation procedure is done in about four hours without opening the chest.

Today, Michael's heart is back to a normal rhythm and he's back to spending hours in the gym.

Link: "You can get old and sit around or you can get old and exercise more."

Candidates for N-Contact include patients whose chronic Atrial fibrillation continues while on medication or after having a catheter treatment.

Doctor Reddy says if you've had open heart procedures, like a bypass surgery, N-Contact is not right for you.

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