Benchmark treatment for heart disorders safe for children of all ages

09/30/04

A five-year study conducted in multiple centers nationwide revealed that a type of radiofrequency method used in treating heart rhythm disorders is very safe and effective in children.

Patients aged 0-16 years old with various forms of heart problems were recruited to participate in this study, published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, where radiofrequency ablation, a non-surgical procedure, was used to treat various heart rhythm disorders. Short and long-term risks associated with this procedure among children include damage to heart valves, new heart problems and even sudden death. Additionally, there are concerns regarding the safety of this procedure on the heart of a young child that is still developing.

However, according to the study, radiofrequency ablation represents a major advancement in the management of children with arrhythmias, or abnormal heart beats, and "has rapidly become the standard of care for first-line therapy in patients of nearly all ages."

Data revealed high success in use of this treatment on the over 2,700 patients. The success rate did not differ significantly by demographics but showed that those patients with a particular disorder dealing with the left-side of their heart had the highest percentages, with 98% able to be cured with the technique.

"The results should serve as a benchmark for likely results of the procedure in children and will be essential in the evaluation of new technology introduced for the ablation of heart rhythm disorders in children," states author of the paper, George Van Hare, MD.

Funded by a grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, this study confirms and extends previous observations made by the Pediatric Radiofrequency Ablation Registry.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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