FREEZE! Procedure Stops Heart Rhythm Condition in its Tracks

FREEZE! Procedure Stops Heart Rhythm Condition in its Tracks

An innovative heart procedure at Olathe Medical Center (OMC) is helping doctors freeze away a common heart rhythm disorder. Atrial fibrillation, or a-fib, is a fast and abnormal pattern of contractions in the upper part of the heart.

Atrial fibrillation may cause mild to severe symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath and lightheadedness. Some patients, like Alan Powell, don’t experience any symptoms. Last year Alan was surprised when his doctor paused while listening to his heart during his annual check-up.

“I think you’re in a-fib,” James Sebghati, MD, Alan’s internal medicine physician with Olathe Health Internal Medicine, said. Dr. Sebghati ran an EKG, or electrocardiogram, in the office to measure Alan’s cardiac electrical activity. The test confirmed that Alan’s heart was experiencing a-fib.

Ravi Yarlagadda, MD, FACC, FHRS, electrophysiologist, met Alan minutes after talking with Dr. Sebghati and escorted him to the Olathe Medical Center’s Emergency Care Center in the connected building. After additional testing, Dr. Yarlagadda prescribed medication to help treat Alan’s condition.

“I struggled to adjust to the medicines. When I followed up with Dr. Yarlagadda, he suggested a procedure called cryoablation that could help treat my a-fib,” Alan said.

Cryoablation is a minimally-invasive interventional procedure that uses extremely cold temperatures to destroy damaged heart tissue that is causing the patient’s arrhythmia. The physician guides a catheter through a blood vessel to the heart through a small incision. Dr. Yarlagadda was the first doctor in Kansas to use cryoablation as a treatment for heart rhythm disorders.

Since the cryoablation helps eliminate the cause of a-fib, patients may wean off their heart rhythm medications after treatment. In addition, new guidance published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that for some patients, blood-thinning medicines are no longer required even before ablation.

“I had no problems with the procedure and was back home later that day. I haven’t had any more a-fib episodes since. I know Dr. Yarlagadda is one of the best, and he and the team took great care of me. I’m feeling great.” Alan said.

Learn more about heart rhythm disorder treatment at To make an appointment with a heart rhythm disorder specialist, call 913-780-4900.