PANAMA CITY, Florida (February 7, 2019) – Dr. Nghia Hoang, cardiac electrophysiologist, has performed the first cryoablation procedure in the area at Bay Medical Sacred Heart. The new technology treats atrial fibrillation (AF) in the cardiac cath lab by freezing a small area of heart tissue in order to block the signals causing the erratic rhythm. Bay Medical Sacred Heart is the only hospital in the area offering this treatment.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) affects 2.7 million Americans. One of the most undertreated heart rhythm disorders, AF is an irregular quivering or rapid heart rhythm in the upper chambers (atria) of the heart. A heart in AF beats significantly faster than normal. When the heart does not contract at a normal rhythm, blood is not pumped completely out of the atria and may pool and clot. When left untreated, AF patients are five times more likely to have a stroke and have an increased chance of developing heart failure.

While medication is considered the first-line treatment for AF, studies indicate that half of all AF patients do not respond to drug therapy. Other treatments include cardioversion, a procedure performed in a hospital, which shocks the heart back into a normal rhythm, but the erratic rhythm may return. Implanted pacemakers are only used when medications and other therapies have failed to control an erratic AF rhythm.

Radiofrequency ablation is also a catheter-based procedure and is very similar to cryoablation, but it uses heat to create a scar to block the erratic electrical signals. Radiofrequency ablation has been available at Bay Medical for quite some time for treatment of other rhythm disorders such as supraventricular tachycardia or atrial flutter, but it has not been commonly used here for AF. In my experience, as well as in clinical trials, this new cryoballoon technology has shown improved outcomes and shorter procedure times for patients,” says Dr. Hoang. “AF can be a difficult disorder to treat, but it is rewarding to see patients maintain normal rhythm and improvement in quality of life after cryoablation.”

Dr. Hoang is certified by the American Board of Osteopathic Internal Medicine in Cardiology and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology and is a Certified Cardiac Device Specialist with the International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners.


Contact: Martha Crombie

Bay Medical Sacred Heart