At Heart Rhythm Society 2010, we saw intriguing new research into personalized afib treatment and stroke prevention that was presented by Dr. Nassir Marrouche and Dr. Marcos Daccarett of the Comprehensive Arrhythmia Research and Management (CARMA) Center at the University of Utah Health System.
They have developed a way, using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), to personalize atrial fibrillation (AF) treatment by “staging”, which determines whether catheter ablation will likely stop the afib based on the degree of fibrosis in the atrium. The extent of atrial fibrosis also was found to correlate with stroke risk. The stage indicates appropriate catheter ablation treatment and whether anticoagulation is needed following the procedure. The researchers indicated that the best results come from intervening early into atrial fibrillation.
To further validate the effectiveness of the Utah AF staging system, they have initiated a multi-center clinical trial that will involve a number of centers worldwide, including Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Loyola, the University of Pennsylvania, and CHU Bordeaux.
UPDATE 11-9-11: Some centers listed above have removed themselves from the trial as they are focused on other clinical trials. For the latest list of centers, see DECAAF at ClinicalTrials.gov