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January 7, 2016

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Local boy is youngest to be treated with ablation

A 13-MONTH-OLD boy from Shanghai with fast heartbeat was successfully treated with radiofrequency ablation (RFA), reported to be the youngest in the world to successfully go through the medical procedure.

The boy, Yang Xintian, was treated at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. The hospital said the RFA procedures are usually conducted on patients over four years old.

The success in Yang’s case may set a new benchmark for treating infants with similar conditions, experts said.

Yang suffered from congenital heart problem since birth. His heartbeat was 250 per minute, while a normal child’s heart usually stays below 150 beats per minute. It is usually treated by medication but in Yang’s case it was so serious that he needed electric shocks to slow down the heartbeats.

Dr. Li Fen said radiofrequency ablation was the standard treatment for such symptoms but in Yang’s case age was a factor.

Radiofrequency energy inserts electrodes into heart tissues through the vein to destroy abnormal electrical pathways that cause cardiac arrhythmia. But clinical guidance in China only allowed it on adults and children over four years old.

The societies on pediatrics and congenital heart disease in Europe said RFA can be used on patients of any age who suffer from frequent outbreaks. Li carried out an ablation on Yang on December 25 following which his heartbeat settled at around 100 per minute.

Children have extremely tiny blood vessels, so even though Europe removed the age restrictions, few hospitals attempted it due to possible complications.


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