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For release: November 26, 2013

Jim Armstrong 330.344.6083,

Akron General offers advanced treatment option for Heart Rhythm Disorders
Balloon Cryoablation shortens procedure time, provides significant symptom reduction

The Akron General Heart & Vascular Center is among the first in the state to use balloon catheter cryoablation. This minimally-invasive procedure efficiently blocks troublesome electrical impulses in the heart that cause an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, also known as Afib. Cardiac tissues are then ablated through the use of a freezing energy rather than heat, which is delivered through a balloon catheter.

“For many patients with Afib, it is important to restore normal heart rhythm to improve quality of life,” said electrophysiologist Robert Schweikert, MD, Chief of Cardiology at the Akron General Heart & Vascular Center. “By using balloon cryoablation, patients spend less time undergoing the procedure and the effectiveness is impressive. This procedure is one of the newest, most clinically advanced treatment options for Afib, proven safe and effective in clinical studies worldwide in tens of thousands of patients. With this addition to our other advanced technologies for Afib catheter ablation, we now have more treatment options available for patients with Afib.”

Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is a growing epidemic that will affect more than 5.6 million Americans by 2050. Today, approximately three million Americans suffer from this potentially dangerous form of irregular heartbeat, with many more left undiagnosed. Half of all diagnosed Afib patients fail drug therapy, face two times the risk of death from heart-related causes, have five times higher risk of stroke, and may contract other serious heart conditions such as congestive heart failure. Afib is more common in older patients. As the U.S. population continues to grow older, the need for more effective and efficient treatment options for the increasing number of patients with Afib will become more important.

Balloon catheter cryoablation is one of a number of innovative treatment options offered at Akron General to help patients with Afib. The balloon catheter cryoablation system offered at Akron General, the Arctic Front Advanced Cardiac Ablation System, is manufactured by Medtronic and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for catheter ablation of symptomatic drug-refractory, paroxysmal (episodic) Afib. The heart rhythm specialists at Akron General offer a broad range of treatment options for Afib, including control of the heart rate, stroke prevention, and, for appropriate patients, restoration of normal rhythm with medications or with catheter ablation.

The Akron General Heart & Vascular Center offers patients a comprehensive array of innovative treatment options for a broad range of cardiac and vascular conditions. Physicians at the Akron General Heart & Vascular Center are dedicated to understanding, controlling and preventing heart and vascular diseases and keeping our patients well. The Center offers northeast Ohio's best mix of technical expertise along with the personalized care. Akron General Heart & Vascular Center also provides the most advanced level of cardiovascular prevention, education, research and care to the residents of northeast Ohio. Akron General is Summit County's first Accredited Chest Pain Center and designated a Primary Stroke Center with the Gold Seal of Approval™ from The Joint Commission. For more information on the Akron General Heart & Vascular Center, visit

About Akron General Health System
Akron General Health System is a not-for-profit health care organization with the mission of improving the health and lives of the people and communities it serves. Akron General Health System includes: Akron General Medical Center, a 532-registered-bed teaching and research medical center, and Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute, the area’s largest provider of rehabilitation services; Akron General Partners, which includes Partners Physician Group, the Akron General Health & Wellness Centers, Lodi Community Hospital, Community Health Centers and other companies; Akron General Community Health Ventures, which includes Visiting Nurse Service and Affiliates; and Akron General Foundation. Recently, U.S. News & World Report ranked Akron General Medical Center as the fifth best hospital in Ohio. In 2013, the American Nurses Association bestowed the prestigious “Magnet” status on the more that 1,000 nurses from Akron General Medical Center, Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute and the Health System’s Health & Wellness Centers. For more information about Akron General Health System, visit

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