MUMC Among the First in the Nation to Offer New Cardiac Freezing Technology

(February 15, 2011) - Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC) in Savannah is the first and only facility in southeast Georgia to offer a new, cutting-edge treatment for heart rhythm disorders. The procedure is called the Arctic Front™ Cardiac CryoAblation Catheter System. It was developed by Medtronic, Inc., and was just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December.

Cardiologist Mark Jenkins, M.D., performed the first Arctic Front procedure at MUMC in January. He was one of the first physicians in the U.S. to be trained in the technology.

The Arctic Front system is used to treat of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF), a serious heart rhythm disorder that affects millions of Americans. People with PAF experience episodes of irregular heartbeats that stop and start on their own. Left untreated, it greatly increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. In the past, doctors used radiofrequency, or heat, to destroy faulty electrical circuits in the heart and correct the condition. The Arctic Front takes the opposite approach and delivers a coolant to the heart to freeze abnormal tissue in the pulmonary veins.

"The value of the new cryoablation technology over existing methods is that it enables us to safely and effectively isolate the pulmonary veins via a simple, efficient approach," said Jenkins, M.D. "The new procedure is also faster and seems to provide faster recovery for patients."

During clinical trials, patients who received Arctic Front treatment had a significant reduction in symptoms, a decrease in the need for drug therapy, and substantial improvements in both physical and mental quality-of-life factors.

Memorial University Medical Center is a two-state healthcare organization serving a 35-county area in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. The system includes its flagship hospital, a 530-bed academic medical center; Memorial primary and specialty care physician networks; a major medical education program; business and industry services; and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center. You can follow us at facebook.com/memorialhealth, twitter.com/mymemorial, and youtube.com/memorialhealth.