Health City Cayman Islands has become the first hospital in the English speaking Caribbean to offer a new high-tech procedure for patients with irregular heartbeat.

The medical tourism facility in East End is now offering cryoablation, a procedure for patients with atrial fibrillation, a common rhythm disorder of the heart in which people get irregular palpitations, which can lead to breathlessness and strokes.

“It’s also responsible for a lot of morbidity and lifestyle issues for the patient and the healthcare cost of patients with atrial fibrillation on the community is pretty huge,” said Dr. Ravi Kishore, of Health City.

The technology introduces a deflated “cryoballoon” into the heart.

“Through this balloon we can introduce a liquid, which cools and dilates the balloon, and then freezes whichever structure it is put into,” said Dr. Kishore.

Doctors introduce the balloon catheter into the groin and thread it into the pulmonary veins, located in the back of the heart, where the impulses that trigger the atrial fibrillation come from, and then inflate the balloon and freeze the vein for about two to three minutes, destroying the source of the fibrillation, he said.

Dr. Kishore said medical staff at the hospital have performed the 60- to 90-minute procedure on five patients, all of whom were discharged within a day.

“We found it a very user-friendly technology and the outcomes were fantastic,” Dr. Kishore said.

Peter Tuckey, a long-time resident of Jamaica, was one of the first patients to have the procedure.

“It is an excellent facility and I’m so happy that it’s close to Jamaica. I’ll be back to exercising, back to golf and back to a drink or two so everything’s on the up,” he said.

Dr. Kishore added, “This procedure gives a new option for patients suffering from atrial fibrillation by providing a safer and more effective option for long-term recovery.”

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