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Sanford Cardiologists Now Offer New Procedure to Correct Heart Rhythm Problems

Two Sanford Heart cardiologists now offer a new procedure to correct irregular heartbeats.

(Sioux Falls, SD & Fargo, ND) – Two Sanford Heart cardiologists now offer a new procedure to correct irregular heartbeats. Christopher Pierce, MD and Christopher Stanton, MD both now perform cardiac cryoablation to correct certain cases of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF), a serious heart rhythm disorder that affects millions of Americans.

Drs. Pierce and Stanton use the Arctic Front® Cardiac CryoAblation Catheter system, the first and only cryoballoon approved in the United States to treat PAF. Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder in America affecting approximately three million people. PAF is a type of atrial fibrillation in which irregular heartbeats in the upper chambers start and stop suddenly on their own, usually for minutes or days at a time.

Unlike traditional ablation treatments that use radiofrequency, or heat, to destroy faulty electrical circuits in the heart, the balloon-based technology of Arctic Front ablates cardiac tissue through the use of a coolant rather than heat, which is delivered through a catheter.

“The value of the new freezing technology over existing methods is that it enables physicians to safely and effectively isolate the pulmonary veins via a simple, efficient approach,” said Dr. Pierce, electrophysiologist & cardiologist, Sanford Heart, Fargo. “This minimally invasive procedure gives patients peace-of-mind that their heart may be restored to an appropriate rhythm and they can resume their normal, daily activity following the treatment.”

Dr. Stanton, Sanford Heart Hospital, Sioux Falls also commented, “ “Treating atrial fibrillation with medications can be difficult due to risks associated with certain medications, and is in many cases ineffective. Cryoablation is roughly twice as effective as most medications for long-term maintenance of normal heart rhythm, and allows patients to return to active lifestyles without significant delay.”

Dr. Pierce is the first cardiologist in North Dakota to perform the procedure. Dr. Stanton is the first cardiologist in South Dakota.

About Atrial Fibrillation

Approximately three million Americans are estimated to have the disease, and about 40 percent don’t exhibit symptoms and may be under-diagnosed. Half of all diagnosed atrial fibrillation patients fail drug therapy , and if left untreated patients have up to a five times higher risk of stroke and an increased chance of developing heart failure. Symptoms can be severe and life threatening, they include shortness of breath, fatigue and stroke. Additionally, since atrial fibrillation is often age-related, as the U.S. population continues to grow older, the need for more effective treatment options is escalating

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in Fargo, ND and Sioux Falls, SD and consists of two long-standing organizations that merged in 2009. Sanford is now the largest, rural, not-for-profit healthcare system in the nation with a presence in 111 communities in eight states. In addition, Sanford Health is in the process of developing international clinics in Belize and Ireland.

Sanford Health includes 32 hospitals, 111 clinic locations and more than 900 physicians in 70 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 20,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota. The system is experiencing dynamic growth and development in conjunction with Denny Sanford's $400 million gift in 2007, the largest gift ever to a healthcare organization in America. This gift is making possible the implementation of the several initiatives including global children's clinics, multiple research centers and finding a cure for type 1 diabetes. For more information, visit

JAMA 2001; 285:2370-5. Fuster et al. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2006; 48:854-906.

Stacy Bauer Jones | Media Relations Manager | Sioux Falls Region
605-328-7056 or 605-366-2432 |
Follow Me @SanfordStacy

Andrea Voorhees  |  Sanford Media Strategist  |  Fargo Region
701-200-6080  |
Follow Me @SanfordAndrea