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Country's first 'simplified maze' using new ultrasound technology is done at Northwestern Memorial

CHICAGO The country's first ever Maze procedure done using high intensity focused ultrasound technology the only energy source that allows surgeons to surgically cure atrial fibrillation (AF) while a patient's heart is beating rather than having to use a heart-lung bypass machine was performed last Friday at the Northwestern Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Atrial fibrillation is a widespread cardiac rhythm disorder in which the upper chambers of the heart do not beat effectively because of abnormal electrical activity. AF results in reduced cardiac output, exacerbates heart failure and can lead to stroke or other neurological problems. AF affects more than six million people worldwide.

"Ultrasound technology dramatically simplifies the Maze procedure, eliminates the need to stop the heart from beating and soon will allow us to perform the Maze procedure minimally invasively and routinely as a stand-alone surgery," says Patrick McCarthy, M.D., co-director of the Northwestern Cardiovascular Institute and chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, who performed the country's surgical first and is one of the few surgeons trained to use the High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) surgical ablation technology manufactured by St. Jude Medical, Inc.

"Northwestern Memorial Hospital is an outstanding partner to debut our HIFU technology to the United States," said Jane J. Song, President of St. Jude Medical's Atrial Fibrillation business. "Dr. McCarthy's renowned international reputation and vast experience in the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation, combined with Northwestern Memorial's commitment to building a premier heart program, make them the ideal team to introduce this new approach to surgical cardiac ablation." The Maze procedure is the most effective cure for AF, eliminating irregular heartbeats a primary reason for stroke, heart attacks and heart failure in
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Contact: Amanda Widtfeldt
awidtfel@nmh.org
312-926-2955
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
21-Dec-2004


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