SAN ANTONIO — Advancements in medical technology are essential to saving lives. That's why a fairly new combination procedure is being tested out in a trial phase to battle the often deadly atrial fibrillation condition, otherwise known as an irregular heartbeat.

If you have atrial fibrillation, also referred to as AFIB, you may benefit from participating in a medical research study for patients diagnosed with persistent or long-standing persistent AFIB.

Delia Gonzales said she had AFIB for years and saw many specialists who tried to treat it. She thought the Amaze Trial would be perfect for her.

"When Dr. (Manoj) Panday came into the picture I said, 'I need to know him,' and he's the one that got me into the program for the Amaze," she said. 

Panday, who heads up electrocardio physiology at UT Health, who also sees patients within the University Health System, said the trial is being conducted at a small number of centers nationwide. In San Antonio, they've been ongoing for two years.

He says many in San Antonio could qualify for the trial.

"It is for patients with symptomatic atrial fibrillation that's long-standing, (who) have had it for over a year, and it's persistent," she said. "That means the episodes last for seven days or more."

The purpose of the study is to determine the effectiveness of a combination of two non-surgical procedures: pulmonary vein isolation and closure of the left atrial appendage utilizing the lariat procedure. 

The lariat procedure closes the left atrial appendage. After it is closed, a scar forms around of the closure location, potentially illuminating a recognized source of AFIB.

For Gonzales, that particular procedure was a success. 

"That really worked, cleared everything for me." Panday added. "It's really a pleasure to see that, more than a year out from her procedure, she's not had any atrial fibrillation at all."

If you have persistent and or long-standing persistent AFIB, you can learn more about the trial call UT Health Cardiology at (210)450-4888.

For more information about family health, call (210)358-3045. You can also find the rest of our Wear The Gown stories at WearTheGown.com.

OTHER POPULAR STORIES ON KENS5.COM