In treating atrial fibrillation (AF), this year has witnessed some real excitement. And not all the good news has to do with new pills. Recently, there has been a flurry of encouraging and objective news on ablating AF. Here are some comments on three notable studies that address three important questions:
1. What are the “long-term” success rates of AF ablation?
On this important question comes an American Heart Association (AHA) abstract from the highly-regarded lab of Dr. Karl-Heinz Kuck in Hamburg. They report on a relatively young cohort of 161 patients who underwent AF ablation (using standard pulmonary vein isolation techniques) in 2003-2004. At an average of five years of follow up, more than 80 percent were either AF-free or “clinically improved.”
Real-world impression: Although late recurrences of AF years after successful ablation have been reported, my impression (having started with AF ablation in 2004) is that most who are AF-free off drugs after one year have remained AF-free thus far. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*
Doctors are all-familiar with marketing efforts to promote new drugs, but once the new drugs displace older drugs in the medical marketplace, who serves as advocates for the continued manufacturing of older FDA-approved drugs?
In a short answer: No one.
For those of us dealing in cardiac arrhythmia management, this presents difficult challenges for patient care if people are unable to take the newer drugs due to side effects. These patients no longer have a fall-back option to turn to for medical therapy when the older drugs have become extinct on the marketplace. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*
As has been pointed out (pointedly) to DrRich, we do not have death panels in the United States. And indeed, considering that we’re not conducting military tribunals for Islamist terrorists who have tried (or succeeded in) killing and maiming as many of us as possible, it seems relatively unlikely that we’d assemble death panels (which sound even less due-process-friendly than military tribunals) for American patients.
What we will have, however, is a federally-mandated assembly, body, committee, commission, board, diet, parliament, or posse (but not a panel) of experts which will carefully evaluate all the objective clinical evidence regarding a particular medical treatment, and make “recommendations” to doctors about whether or when to use that treatment. The model which frequently has been offered up for our consideration, as we contemplate the workings of such a non-death-panel, is the British National Institute for Clinical Excellence, or NICE. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The Covert Rationing Blog*