VENICE, Fla. – Venice Regional Medical Center is now offering a cutting-edge procedure for residents suffering from atrial fibrillation (Afib), the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm and the leading cause of stroke in the United States. While the catheter ablation procedure is offered in neighboring cities, this is the first time Venice residents have had access to the procedure locally.
Afib can be managed through medication or low-energy shocks that attempt to trigger a normal rhythm, but the catheter ablation procedure corrects Afib from inside the heart itself. The procedure involves threading a catheter through a vein in the leg up into the heart to cauterize and scar the abnormal tissue that causes Afib. Essentially, it isolates the abnormal pieces of heart tissue from the rest of the heart so the organ can function properly.
Cardiac electrophysiologist Dr. Dilip Mathew, who has performed a majority of the catheter ablations in Southwest Florida through his work in Tampa and Sarasota hospitals, just recently began performing the catheter ablations at Venice Regional. He not only brings his expertise to the facility, but is also responsible for implementing the use of advanced technology such as Biosense Webster’s CARTO 3 system, which offers a 3D, rather than 2D image of the heart. The technology not only minimizes the time patients spend in the procedure, but also dramatically decreases their exposure to radiation.
“Venice residents suffering from Afib formerly had to drive three hours round trip for their appointments and procedures, which can be taxing when already managing the stress of medical issues,” said Dr. Mathew. “Now they can get the same quality of care and access to the latest technology in their own community.”
Dorothy Harold, a 76-year-old Venice resident and patient of Dr. Mathew, underwent a catheter ablation procedure in Tampa last year. She said that before the procedure, her battle with Afib had drained her energy to the point of not being able to spend time with family and friends.
“Dr. Mathew gave me my life back,” Harold said. “Having such a wonderful physician and a life-changing procedure within a short drive, or maybe even walking distance for some folks, is such a blessing for our town.”