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Changing the lifestyle of cardiac patients after surgery keeps them healthy longer

Health

MANAGING the underlying cardiac risk factors of patients treated for atrial fibrillation drastically improves long-term survival rates, according to a new study.

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Atrial fibrillation (AF) is increasingly responsible for dementia, stroke and death, and has a significant impact on healthcare costs.

With electrical “short circuits” believed to be responsible for the abnormal beating of the heart in AF patients, one currently used treatment is to burn the tissue surrounding the problem area, in a process known as “catheter ablation”.

A study in the University of Adelaide's Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders followed more than 149 AF patients who had undergone catheter ablation. Of these, 61 had also undergone an intensive risk factor management program.

The findings, published in this month's issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, conclusively show that patients who managed their lifestyle factors were five times more likely to have long-term survival without any further heart arrhythmia.

RajeevPathakElectrophysiologySAHMRI

“This is a very important finding because it shows the huge gap between what happens when patients are able to manage the underlying risks of their health and those who rely solely on medical intervention,” he says.

“Our results help to reinforce a significant public health message about lifestyle, and they show what a targeted management program can achieve,” Dr Pathak said.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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