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Media Contact:
Lauren Jones, Media Relations
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
734-712-4033
joneslae@trinity-health.org

Title
St. Joseph Mercy Doctors Provide a Cure for Atrial Fibrillation
Start Date
02/09/2010
Article

Doctors and nationally known survivor to speak at conference on March 4

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Join nationally known atrial fibrillation survivor, Mellanie True Hills, and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System’s (SJMHS) Dr. Manak Sood and Dr. Jihn Han as they discuss atrial fibrillation and a new procedure being offered to patients. The new procedure boasts 90 percent success rates of curing atrial fibrillation. The conference will take place Thursday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Education Center Auditorium located on the campus of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital: 5305 McAuley Drive in Ypsilanti.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is estimated to affect over two million Americans and is the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm in the elderly. If left untreated, AF can lead to stroke and congestive heart failure. While treatment options in the past have been limited to medication and invasive surgery, doctors at St. Joe’s have teamed up to offer a unique, minimally invasive surgical approach, called the Wolf-Mini-Maze, to potentially cure atrial fibrillation.

“This procedure is revolutionary because cardiologists and surgeons work side by side during the procedure. It allows us to test the treatment before the patient leaves the operating room to ensure that it was successful. We are able to make real time adjustments in the operating room so the patient has the best possible outcome, ” explains Dr. Manak Sood, cardiothoracic surgeon at SJMHS and featured speaker at AF conference.

While the Wolf-Mini-Maze procedure may not be the choice for everyone suffering from AF, the benefits of choosing to undergo this procedure are substantial. This procedure allows patients to discontinue many of the medications that they use for existing AF, as well as potentially stopping blood thinners all together. Patients are only in the hospital for three to four days following the procedure and back to work in two weeks. This is significantly shorter recovery time than patients who have open-heart surgery.

Nationally known survivor, Mellanie True Hills, underwent Wolf-Mini-Maze surgery and is now spreading the word about AF and this leading-edge procedure.

Without being able to pinpoint what triggered her AF, Mellanie constantly lived in fear of her next episode. Her life was turned upside down and AF took a toll on her whole family emotionally, physically and financially. The turning point for Mellanie was when new research revealed that some patients taking her prescribed medication weren’t stable for genetic reasons. Soon after, Mellanie learned about the Wolf-Mini-Maze procedure and made the life-changing decision to go through with the surgery. Mellanie was cured of AF in September 2005 as a result of the Wolf-Mini-Maze surgery.

“Though it was surgery, with risks and anesthesia, and was in an area that is very delicate for women, I have no regrets,” says True Hills. “You can’t put a price on getting your freedom back.”

True Hills is teaming up with Dr. Jihn Han, cardiac electrophysiologist, and Dr. Manak Sood, cardiothoracic surgeon, to spread awareness of this groundbreaking procedure. Topics discussed at the conference include general information about AF, discussion of treatment options, a detailed presentation on the Wolf-Mini-Maze procedure by doctors, and a survivor testimonial. An extensive question and answer session will follow the presentations.

Light refreshments will be served; space is limited and registration is required. The conference will run approximately two hours.

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St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor | 5301 McAuley Drive, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 | 734-712-3456