Laser heart surgery performed in UK


The first UK patients to receive a new laser heart surgery have been treated at the London Heart Hospital.

The new HeartLight Endoscopic Ablation System (EAS) from US company CardioFocus is used to treat atrial fibrillation (AF).

The device enables surgeons to use an endoscope to see within the beating heart and direct laser energy to burn a barrier, isolating the pulmonary vein. It also uses an adjustable balloon catheter to contact the vein.

Recent data have shown that approximately 86% of procedures with the HeartLight EAS resulted in the pulmonary vein remaining isolated – a successful outcome – after three months.

Previous operations relying on computer models had a more than 50% failure rate leading to repeat operations.

Dr Oliver Segal, one of two cardiologists who performed the HeartLight EAS operations at the Heart Hospital, commented: “It’s extremely exciting. It allows us to look inside the heart, a dimension that’s never been seen before. That has to be good for accuracy, good for success and good for safety.”

The Heart Hospital anticipates that the HeartLight EAS could be used in up to half of the 400 AF ablation procedures performed there every year.

“With the addition of this important UK center, we are continuing the introduction of HeartLight EAS to leading medical hubs across Europe,” said Stephen Sagon, President and CEO of CardioFocus.

“We are encouraged by the quick adoption of this technology by leaders in the electrophysiology community and are pleased to bring the possibility of a more durable, reproducible ablation option to an expanding number of AF practitioners and their patients.”

CardioFocus is based in Massachussetts, USA.