First VT procedure in the West takes place at Galway Clinic

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The first ventricular tachycardia ablation to take place in the west of Ireland has been performed in Galway Clinic.

Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is a life-threatening heart rhythm problem caused by irregular electrical signals in the lower chambers of the heart, which results in patients experiencing much faster heartbeats.

Traditional methods of treatment involve patients with defibrillators having to undergo shocks which can lead to medical risks, or else take medications associated with significant side effects.

Consultant cardiologist at Blackrock Health Galway Clinic Dr Stephen Tuohy, who performed the first VT procedure there, said that the availability of the procedure would be of major benefit to those living in the West of the country.

“Although this is a relatively rare condition compared to other heart problems, ventricular tachycardia presents real challenges to providing effective treatment to patients,” he said.

“The ventricular tachycardia ablation which our team performed involves the use of 3D mapping – another first for Galway Clinic.

“Until now, patients in the West of Ireland have had to travel to Dublin to receive this care – adding significantly to their burdens – and so its introduction in Galway Clinic represents a real step forward for cardiology in the region.”

The use of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) is the main means of preventing sudden death in VT patients, and it has been shown that ablation can be life-saving for patients with ventricular tachycardia storm.

Patrick Cross was the first patient to undergo a ventricular tachycardia ablation in Galway Clinic, and he said that the successful operation had brought about a major improvement in his quality of life.

He also noted the advantages of the procedure being available to patients in the West.

“It was fantastic to be able to receive this care nearby in Galway, which meant that there was no long journey in advance,” said Patrick.

“Being closer to home makes for a far less complicated and far more relaxing experience, and the staff in Galway Clinic were brilliant throughout.”

Dr Tuohy added that he believes that the introduction of advanced technologies and the greater availability of high-tech procedures will be a major benefit to cardiology patients across the region, including those suffering from atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia and other arrhythmias.