[Skip to content]

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust
Our research
Search our Site

Trust cardiologists’ successful trial for irregular heartbeat treatment

28 March 2013

 

Patients with heart failure and the most common type of irregular heartbeat have new hope for a better quality of life following a successful trial of a new treatment led by the Trust.

 

Over 50 patients took part in the trial led by a team of cardiologists at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals, which examined the role of catheter ablation, a minimally invasive treatment using radiofrequency energy to destroy the area causing the abnormal heart rhythm.

 

The ARC-HF study, which took place between 2009 and 2012, included 52 patients with heart failure and persistent atrial fibrillation (AF), randomised to either catheter ablation or the more usual treatment of beta-blockers and/or digoxin.

 

The results were positive – after 12 months patients who had the ablation saw improvement in exercise performance and quality of life compared with the patients who did not have the treatment – and have been described as “very favourable” by Cardiosource-American College of Cardiology.

 

The study – published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) – was led by Dr David Jones, locum consultant cardiologist at the Trust, who presented the results at a special session at the American Heart Association (AHA) Annual Scientific Sessions in Los Angeles. 

 

Dr Jones said: ”AF and heart failure can cause a vicious cycle of deterioration, but to date the best strategy for managing this challenging combination of conditions has been unclear. This study has shown, for the first time, a clear benefit of ablation therapy over the contemporary standard of care, namely tablet-based ’rate-control’.”

 

Dr Tom Wong, consultant cardiologist at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and the senior investigator for the trial added: "Clearly the results need to be confirmed by larger multi-centre randomised trials. However, even in this small study, we have shown a significant improvement in these patients in maximum oxygen consumption, which is a very strong predictor of mortality in patients with heart failure.

 

“The procedures are typically long, with lots of ablation, and a very sick patient population where you need expertise to be sure you get a good clinical outcome and minimise the complication rate. If you can achieve that, then I think the patient will benefit."

 

The team included co-investigators Dr Shouvik Haldar, Dr Rakesh Sharma, Dr Shelley Rahman Haley, Dr Wala Mattar, Professor Richard Underwood, Dr Wajid Hussain, and Dr Vias Markides.

 

The Trust has a large and expanding electrophysiology service and its clinical teams have specific expertise in treating heart failure and arrhythmia.

Royal Brompton

Sydney Street,
London SW3 6NP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7352 8121

Harefield