Valley Heart & Vascular Institute - Deron's Story

Deron’s Story

For two years, entrepreneur and recreational hockey player Deron Siddons was unable to take to the ice, and even considered quitting his job, because an arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation (AFib) caused his heart to beat erratically for up to 48 hours every week.

Today, thanks to an innovative minimally invasive hybrid ablation procedure that represents a new treatment option for patients with persistent or difficult-to-treat AFib, Deron’s heart is beating normally. He’s also back on the ice, touring with his Hockey North America team and coaching his son’s Montclair Hockey Club team.

Deron, 51, underwent his innovative procedure at The Valley’s Hospital’s Arrhythmia Institute, part of Valley’s Heart & Vascular Institute. Valley is one of only a few hospitals in the New York metropolitan area to offer this new approach.

Hybrid ablation combines the skills of a cardiac surgeon and an electrophysiologist who work side by side to block the abnormal electrical signals emanating from the heart’s left atrium. The procedure is a combination of the catheter and surgical approaches to cardiac ablation, and is performed through three small incisions in the abdomen and a few small punctures in the groin. Hybrid ablation does not require a large chest incision or ports placed through the ribs. It is performed in Valley’s cardiac physiology suite, not an operating room.

“Three other types of ablation procedures had failed to put my heart back into a normal rhythm,” says Deron, president of Macoliz, a financial company that requires him to travel to Europe and Asia about once a month. “I couldn’t exercise, my quality of life was terrible, and the fear of a stroke loomed over me at all times.”

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) caused by an abnormality of the heart’s electrical system. The American Heart Association estimates that at least 2.7 million people in the United States have AFib. The disorder can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications. In most cases, normal heart rhythm can be restored with medication or a standard catheter ablation procedure. But sometimes the AFib is more persistent and does not respond to these first-line treatments.

During hybrid ablation, the cardiac surgeon passes a video-scope through minimally invasive abdominal incisions across the diaphragm to gain access to the back wall of the heart’s atrium. This area of the heart does not contribute much to the pumping action of the heart, but it is a key area of electrical activity when AFib becomes more persistent. This area is broadly treated with radiofrequency energy to render the area electrically “impotent.”

A Valley electrophysiologist then threads a balloon-tipped catheter up to the inside of the heart from the femoral vein in the patient’s groin. The physicians use either radiofrequency (heat energy) or cryoenergy (freezing) to produce a series of lesions to block and disconnect the abnormal electrical signals around the pulmonary veins. Diagnostic testing confirms that abnormal electrical signals have been blocked.

After undergoing the hybrid procedure and two days of hospitalization, Deron left Valley. His heart has been in normal sinus rhythm ever since.

“The difference between how I felt before the procedure and how I feel now is like night and day,” he says. “I have my life back to enjoy with my wife and my four children. I’m back playing hockey and recently returned from a Cat skiing trip in the British Columbia back country. There’s no way I would have been able to do this without the hybrid procedure.”

For more information, or to find out if you are a candidate for the hybrid ablation procedure, please call 201-HEART DR (201-432-7837) in New Jersey and Connecticut, or 212-HEART DR (212-432-7837) in New York City.

This procedure may not be suitable for every patient. All patients must be evaluated by a physician as to the appropriateness of performing the procedure.

The above testimonial represents the individual's response and reaction to the procedure; however, no medical procedure is risk-free. Associated potential risks and complications should be discussed with the physician rendering this procedure.

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