St. Joseph’s Hospital Heart Institute Physician Presents at Heart Rhythm Society


Electrophysiologist Kevin Makati, M.D. with St. Joseph's Hospital's Heart Institute recently traveled to Boston, MA to speak about the Convergent procedure at the 2015 Heart Rhythm Society conference. These scientific sessions drew more than 1,200 experts together to focus on the ideas, people and technology that propel their specialty forward.

Dr. Andrew Sherman and Dr. Kevin Makati from St. Joseph's Hospital's Heart Institute in Tampa, FL, share a hybrid cath lab to perform Convergent cardiac procedure to treat patients suffering from atrial fibrillation.

Convergent is a hybrid, minimally invasive cardiac operation that combines the expertise of electrophysiologists (heart rhythm specialists) and cardiovascular surgeons in a single procedure to treat – and hopefully even cure – Atrial Fibrillation.     

Since becoming the only hospital in Hillsborough County to offer Convergent in 2012, St. Joseph's Hospital has grown to be one of busiest of 10 Convergent sites in the world. In late 2014, nContact, Inc. selected St. Joseph's Hospital as the first Convergent training center in Florida. Physicians travel from all over the world to learn the procedure from electrophysiologist Kevin Makati, MD, and cardiothoracic surgeon Andrew Sherman, MD.   

"We were already recognized as a Center of Excellence," Makati said, "But now we are recognized as having the expertise to allow people to be trained by us."

AFib is the most common form of heart arrhythmia, affecting approximately 2.6 million Americans. It causes the heart to beat too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm, increasing the risk of stroke.

During a Convergent procedure, a surgeon uses radiofrequency (extreme heat) to create a pattern of lesions (small cuts) on the outside of the heart without a need for chest incisions. Then, in the same room, the electrophysiologist, uses a catheter to complete the lesion pattern from inside the heart and makes sure it stops the currents that cause AFib. (Watch animation of the procedure at Good candidates for Convergent include those with:

Long-term AFib
Structural heart disease
An enlarged or growing left atrium

Since it's a minimally invasive procedure, patients undergoing Convergent usually have a short hospital stay and quickly return to their full activity level.      

"Our new Heart Institute has allowed us to have an incredible amount of collaboration between our cardiology colleagues," Dr. Sherman said.  "And that's exactly what you want if you're a patient who is dealing with any aspect of heart disease. You don't want each individual specialty thinking about what they want to do with you, you want specialties collectively coming up with a plan that is a safe plan for you as a patient, that has efficacy for you as a patient and that gets you out of the hospital as quick as possible. We're talking about one preparation, one anesthetic, and when they finish that procedure, there are no further procedures that they need to undergo with their first attempt at maintaining normal rhythm," Dr. Sherman added.   

St. Joseph's Hospital is a part of BayCare Health System and Dr. Makati is working with BayCare Clinical Outcomes to demonstrate how the procedure might one day establish the standard of care in managing patients suffering from persistent AFib. The project is in keeping with BayCare's core values of validating procedures that help maintain top decile performance in cardiac care.

To speak with a doctor or a patient about Convergent please call St. Joseph's Hospital Media Relations at (813) 554-8216.

BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 13 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care.

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SOURCE St. Joseph's Hospital