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High Rates of Cerebral Emboli in Patients Undergoing LV Ablation

Findings among patients being treated for premature ventricular contractions

brain scan

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of cerebral embolism with left ventricular ablations for premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) appears much higher than that seen for similar procedures for other types of heart rhythm disturbances, according to a study published online Jan. 24 in Circulation.

For the study, Isaac R. Whitman, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues included 18 patients who underwent catheter ablation for PVCs. Twelve of the patients underwent ablation in the left ventricle. The other six underwent ablation to the right ventricle.

Those in the left ventricular ablation group were much more likely to then develop cerebral emboli, compared to those in the right ventricular ablation group, the researchers found. Specifically, there were a total of 16 of cerebral emboli -- in seven of the 12 patients (58 percent) who underwent left ventricular ablation, compared to none of the patients who underwent right ventricular ablation.

"The rate of asymptomatic emboli in similar procedures for other types of heart rhythm disturbances tends to be 10 to 20 percent," senior author Gregory Marcus, M.D., also from the University of California, San Francisco, said in a university news release. If corroborated in larger studies, the new finding "will become an important consideration as we think about how to optimally help the large number of people out there with PVCs."

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