The University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) performs first minimally invasive cardiac ablation procedure. This was carried out in the Interventional Suite by Consultant Cardiologist/Electrophysiologist, Dr. Nordia Clare-Pascoe, on Monday, September 14.

“It’s a milestone achievement for the Hospital. This was the first cardiac catheter ablation case to be done by a Jamaican in Jamaica and the first cardiac catheter ablation case at the University Hospital of the West Indies and it was a success. Previously, visiting doctors from other countries have done cases at other private facilities,” Dr. Clare-Pascoe said.

Cardiac ablation is a procedure used to restore normal heart rhythm by destroying or scarring areas of tissue in the heart that are causing abnormal electrical signals.

Dr. Clare-Pascoe highlighted that the patient had a persistently fast heart rate and had already developed heart failure from his atrial flutter.

“It was quite rewarding to do his ablation and take him out of this abnormal rhythm. His heart rhythm was restored to a normal heart rhythm, that is, normal sinus rhythm. He had atrial flutter with rapid ventricular response and tachycardia induced cardiomyopathy.”

Atrial flutter is an abnormal heart rhythm that can make the heart beat very fast and also puts patients at risk for heart failure and stroke.

Catheter ablation may offer more definitive treatment of an arrhythmia especially if patients are symptomatic, medications are ineffective or arrhythmia complications such as heart failure are present. During catheter ablation, the cardiac electrophysiologist inserts a catheter into the heart to study the electrical activity of the heart and to deliver radiofrequency energy to disrupt abnormal electrical activity.

Dr. Clare-Pascoe concurred. “In the catheterization lab we are able to use techniques to identify the short circuit location in the heart and apply a small amount of cautery/heat through ablation and this fixes the problem and saves the patient from heart failure and many other negative effects. The procedures are considered safe with good outcomes. Serving as an electrophysiologist in Jamaica is my passion. I was quite happy to bring cutting edge procedures like this back home and to make it more accessible to our Jamaicans.”