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05:56 PM Oct 25, 2021 | PTI |

New Delhi: A 53-year-old man, suffering from recurrent palpitations due to a heart-related ailment, received a fresh lease of life after undergoing a new procedure for treatment of arrythmia at a leading private facility here, authorities said on Monday.


The operation using ‘balloon cryoablation’ approach, took place recently at Max hospital in Saket here, and the hospital group, in a statement, claimed that it was used in India for the “first time”.

People who have atrial fibrillation or arrythmia (irregular beating of the heart) are at an increased risk of stroke. They are usually prescribed blood thinning medicines to reduce this risk, the hospital said.

These patients may also be given medication to control or regulate their heart rate. Sometimes they are advised surgery. A surgery to insert a pacemaker is often conducted as well, the hospital said.

Balloon cryoablation is a minimally-invasive procedure which helps in restoring regular heartbeat by disrupting the abnormal electrical pathways within the heart that cause arrythmia, the statement said.


A catheter is inserted through a blood vessel and is guided to the heart. The word cryoablation is formed of two words – ‘cryo’ meaning cold and ‘ablation’ meaning removal or destruction. This technology which is used by several medical practitioners worldwide, has undergone significant advancement, and has recently become available in India, it said.

Dr Balbir Singh, a senior doctor at the Max hospital in Saket and chairman of cardiology across its facilities, conducted the procedure, hospital authorities said.

“A 53-year-old male patient, who was suffering from recurrent palpitations because of the arrhythmia came to us for treatment. He was otherwise healthy and loved outdoors. However, because of the arrhythmia, his normal life was compromised. For the treatment we used a super cooled cryo balloon which was inflated around the tissue causing AF.

“We used the low temperature balloon to freeze or deactivate the electrical activity of the tissues which cause arrythmia. Post treatment, the patient recovered swiftly. He has been discharged from the hospital and has resumed normal outdoor activities like earlier,” he said.

Pulmonary vein isolation is the foundation of atrial fibrillation and is effective for preventing arrhythmias recurrences. During the past few years, cryoablation has emerged as an effective procedure in treating arrythmia,  the doctor said.

“After administering anaesthesia, we insert the balloon catheter into a blood vessel, which is usually in the upper leg, and it is then directed to the heart using advanced imaging techniques. This tube has an inflatable balloon on one end, and when it reaches the opening of the pulmonary vein, extreme cold energy flows through the catheter to destroy abnormal electrical pathways (by freezing or deactivating it) and restore a healthy heart rhythm,” Singh said.

The procedure is minimally invasive. It is also “painless and completely safe” as specialists who are experts in the heart’s electrical activity undertake these procedures, the doctor said.

“The treatment for arrhythmia itself is of a permanent nature wherein most patients do not require follow-up medicines. The chances of recurrence are also low. Both doctors and patients are pleased with the results of balloon cryoablation treatment and we wish more patients can benefit from it,” he added.


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