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2011 News

August 2011

Where creative nursing ideas flourish - 2011 Nursing report.

How do you measure quality? Here at University of Utah Health Care, it’s not just reflected in our data and metrics. It’s the smile on a patient’s face. It’s a hug given freely to a family member in crisis. It’s nurses and physicians and researchers and administrators all working together to deliver an exceptional patient experience along with superior clinical outcomes. And it’s what we do, each and every day.

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June 2011

Atrial Fibrillation: A Personalized Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a common, yet dangerous, heart rhythm disorder that is becoming more prevalent among aging baby boomers. More than five million Americans have AFib, which causes more than 66,000 deaths a year. Although AFib can occur among young adults, most people with the disease are 60 years or older. Local Healthcare Today.

Heart Strong – Woman Campaigns for Atrial Fibrillation Awareness

Two summers ago, Michele Straube stood at the apex of the 15,000-foot Salkantay Pass in Peru and, red-faced because she was out of breath and mad as a hornet, said 'no mass' to ever trekking mountains again.  This week, she's leaving for Monaco to start a 22-day hike at the start of the fabled Via Alpina trail through the Alps. So what happened in between? Nothing short of a miracle. That's what Michele calls it. Deseret News

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Michele Straube goest into the Heart of the Alps for A-fib Awareness

Until just over 18 months ago, Michele Straube had suffered from a condition known as atrial fibrillation (A-fib) for over 30 years.  Then she underwent a procedure known as an ablation performed by Dr. Nassir Marrouche of the CARMA Center at the University of Utah School of Medicine. To celebrate the successful outcome of the surgery, Michele along with her husband and coach Bob Adler will be hiking “Into the Heart of the Alps” to raise awareness about A-fib and its possible consequences.

May 2011

Afib Survivor: Seeing the Disease from the Eyes of the Patient

In last month’s blog, I wrote about how the Heart Rhythm Society’s 32nd Annual Scientific Sessions will focus on advancements in technology. While such developments are of great interest to us as clinicians and scientists, it’s also good to keep in mind that they are only the means to a more important end – a better quality of life for people with atrial fibrillation or other heart rhythm disorders. EP Lab Digest

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April 2011

Delayed Enhancement MR Imaging: A Potential ‘Game-Changer’ for Assessment and Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation

Less than three years ago, my article in this publication1 (“MR Imaging: New Techniques for the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation,” November 2008) noted that, “as advanced techniques for scar imaging become available, MRI will be an indispensable tool within the catheter lab itself.” Since then, research involving delayed enhancement magnetic resonance imaging (DE-MRI) has accelerated at an ever-quickening pace. EP Lab Digest

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March 2011

U of U/USU collaboration tackles cardiac killer

A big heart problem, ripe for an innovative solution. Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder. Implicated in 66,000 deaths a year in the U.S. alone, it may account for up to $14.6 billion in healthcare costs. Traditional treatments, like anti-arrhythmic drugs to restore normal heart rhythm, have low success rates. As a result, health care companies, insurers, and industry are seeking more effective and reliable approaches to treat “afib.”

New Research Yields Insight into Stroke Mechanism for Atrial Fibrillation Patients

New research showing a link between atrial fibrosis (hardened tissue in the atrium) and stroke was just published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Doctors at the Comprehensive Arrhythmia Research and Management Center (CARMA) in Utah have been studying the relationship between atrial fibrillation, atrial fibrosis, and catheter ablation outcomes for many years. Now, they’ve applied their knowledge of quantifying atrial fibrosis to stroke risk assessment.

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Highlights from the Western Atrial Fibrillation Symposium

Now in its fourth year, the Western Atrial Fibrillation Symposium hosted over 350 cardiologists, physicians and others at this world-class conference demonstrating the latest research and clinical developments in diagnosing, treating and managing AF. It is particularly exciting to see how close we are to introducing some of these game-changing advances, including real-time MRI catheter guidance, into clinical practice. EP Lab Digest 

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Creating Good CARMA - Cardiologist Nassir Marrouche Knows Matters of the Heart

He stands a head above his colleagues in the dim light of the electrophysiology lab, his eyes focused on the task ahead. His soft voice conducts an orchestra of assistants tuning instruments playing in harmony to heal a heart. Bordering the lab, a row of monitors lights the faces of lab technicians observing the procedure. On one screen, a 2-D black-and-white image frames a catheter snaking its way to the left atrium of a heart. On another screen, a 3-D color image of the heart spins suspended. And on yet another, a patient is shown wrapped in the cocoon of the MRI machine.

February 2011

JACC: MRI could help predict stroke risk in AF patients

Delayed-enhancement MRI (DE-MRI) detection of left atrial fibrosis is associated with an increased risk of thromboembolism and may improve risk stratification when paired with existing risk stratification measures, according to a study published online Feb. 8 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.Read more: Health Imaging

Utah Researchers Lead Studies on the Top Two Deadliest Diseases - Cancer and Heart disease

A nanotechnology project at the University of Utah might offer hope for the early detection of pancreatic cancer and other diseases, and researchers at the University of Utah have developed an MRI technique that may predict and prevent strokes, the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

Increasing Awareness of Atrial Fibrillation

A new educational program urges clinicians to communicate with their patients about their awareness of atrial fibrillation, a condition linked to increased risk of stroke. Research has shown that atrial fibrillation (AFib) is one of the most common sustained heart rhythm abnormalities, affecting an estimated 2.3 million Americans, but other investigations suggest that the condition may affect millions more. “Atrial fibrillation is a potentially serious condition,” says Nassir F. Marrouche, MD. “The irregular heartbeat associated with AFib can cause blood to pool in the atria, which can result in the formation of clots. These blood clots can travel from the heart to the brain, where they can lead to stroke.”

MRI Technique May Predict, Prevent Strokes

Researchers at the University of Utah’s Comprehensive Arrhythmia and Research Management (CARMA) Center have found that delayed-enhancement magnetic resonance imaging (DE-MRI) holds promise for predicting the risks of strokes, the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Their latest study on a novel application of this technology appears in the Feb. 15 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Read more: Newswise, ScienceBlog,

January 2011

AF Ablation Gets Boost from Technology & Disease Understanding

Delayed-enhancement MRI (DE-MRI) can better diagnose and treat patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), according to Nassir F. Marrouche, MD, executive director of the Comprehensive Arrhythmia Research and Management (CARMA) Center at the University of Utah Health System in Salt Lake City, and colleagues. The group has devised a scoring system based on left atrial enhancement of gadolinium contrast, an indication of the amount of fibrotic or scarred tissue, which Marrouche says is prognostic of first-time ablation success, as well as the success of rhythm control strategies. The scoring stages are: Utah I: 0 to 5 percent of fibrosis; Utah II: 5 to 20 percent; Utah III: 20 to 35 percent; and Utah IV: 35 percent or more.