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HyCASA heart procedure puts Hollywood Private Hospital on world map

Aug 17, 2021

Hollywood Private Hospital is the only hospital in the southern hemisphere offering Hybrid Catheter Ablation and Surgical Ablation (HyCASA), treating certain patients with long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation (AF or Afib).

Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm caused by erratic electrical signals in the heart, and affects about two per cent of the Australian population.

The aim of HyCASA is to interrupt the atrial fibrillation circuits and return the heart back to a normal rhythm. It combines endocardial radiofrequency ablation (which treats the inside of the heart) with epicardial ablation (which treats the outside of the heart).

Director of Medical Services, Dr Andy Papa-Adams said not only was Hollywood the only hospital offering HyCASA in the southern hemisphere, it was one of the busiest providers of the procedure outside of the US.

“The 50th HyCASA surgery in WA was performed at Hollywood on Friday, August 6,” Dr Papa-Adams said.

“The HyCASA treatment has an established track record, with over 9000 procedures performed in the US and Europe and we are extremely proud to offer the procedure.

“In preparation for offering the service, two of our specialists, one a cardiac electrophysiologist and the other a keyhole expert cardiothoracic surgeon, underwent advanced training in the HyCASA treatment strategy in the US in 2018.”

Dr Papa-Adams said the medical team were able to perform HyCASA at Hollywood thanks to a new multi-million dollar cardiothoracic theatre.

“Hollywood will be a significant centre for hybrid AF therapy and a potential proctoring site for the southern hemisphere,” Dr Papa-Adams said. “We are set to become a training centre for the procedure, teaching surgeons and electrophysiologists across Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific.”

In 2017-18, atrial fibrillation accounted for more than 72,000 hospitalisations in Australia and nine per cent of deaths were associated with the condition in 2018. 1

Dr Papa-Adams said most patients considered for HyCASA had persistent AF (AF that lasts continuously for more than seven days) or previous procedures have not been effective.

“It is estimated almost half of AF patients have long-standing and persistent AF,” Dr Papa-Adams said.

“HyCASA targets two key areas where AF originates - the pulmonary veins and the back wall of the heart.”

The CONVERGE clinical trial found the hybrid AF procedure had superior effectiveness compared to endocardial catheter ablation (CA) alone for the treatment of persistent atrial fibrillation. 2

Dr Papa-Adams said atrial fibrillation increases the risk of chronic fatigue, decreased activity levels and a diminished quality of life.

“AF is a progressive disease, so it is important for patients to be diagnosed and treated before it progresses and causes other health problems – such as stroke or heart failure,” Dr Papa-Adams said.

The symptoms of atrial fibrillation include:

  • Palpitations
  • Fluttering feeling in the chest
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness

Dr Papa-Adams said anyone with one or more of these symptoms should see their GP.

Hollywood Chief Executive Officer Peter Mott said it was the mission of Hollywood to continue to offer innovative therapies for patients who have previously had limited options.

“Our new cardiothoracic theatre is part of a $200 million investment by Ramsay Health Care to provide comprehensive healthcare services at one convenient location in Nedlands,” Mr Mott said.

“Hollywood will be a comprehensive facility for heart health with the opening of our emergency department later this year.” 

1. www.aihw.gov.au/reports/heart-stroke-vascular-diseases/atrial-fibrillation-in-australia/contents/how-many-australians-have-atrial-fibrillation

2. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33185144/

The medical team who performed the 50th HyCASA surgery at Hollywood Private Hospital.

The medical team who performed the 50th HyCASA surgery at Hollywood Private Hospital.