Kent Hospital announced it will take part in the clinical research study, HARMONY, which aims to reduce the frequency of atrial fibrillation (A-fib), the most common cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart beat). Kent is the only site in Rhode Island participating in the study.
The purpose of the HARMONY study is to see if two drugs, Ranolazine and Dronedarone, when taken together reduce the amount of A-fib. The study is part of an international Phase II clinical trial sponsored by Gilead Pharmaceuticals and will be conducted through the Kent Hospital Department of Cardiology, on patients who have pacemakers and have been diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
“We are excited to be conducting the HARMONY clinical trial for the many patients who live with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and may be looking for a possible alternative treatment,” says Chester Hedgepeth, MD, PhD, chief of cardiology at Kent Hospital and director of Brigham and Women’s Cardiovascular Associates at Kent Hospital. “Clinical research studies form the basis for development of medical therapies and this study will determine if there are more effective ways to manage A-fib.”
Atrial fibrillation is often associated with palpitations, fainting spells, chest pain, or congestive heart failure. However, in some people atrial fibrillation is caused by benign conditions. There are several types of atrial fibrillation but this clinical research study will focus on paroxysmal (or intermittently occurring) atrial fibrillation.
Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation is a condition in which there is an irregular heart rhythm which occurs occasionally. The heart returns to its normal rhythm on its own -- in a few minutes, hours, or days. People who have this type of atrial fibrillation may have episodes every day, or only a few times a year. When these episodes begin and end is usually unpredictable, which can be unsettling for some patients. About 1 in 4 people with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation eventually develop the permanent form of the condition.
“As we continuously look for ways to enhance and improve care, studies such as this are instrumental in gathering critical information that ultimately enable us to better treat patients and get them back to their normal, healthy way of life,” said Dr. Bruce Koplan, MPH, director of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service at Kent Hospital and member of the Brigham and Women’s Cardiovascular Associates at Kent Hospital. “Often, we are able to dramatically enhance the quality of life for our patients with treatments that clinically can be simple and non-invasive.”
The study is coordinated in conjunction with arrhythmia services offered at Kent Hospital including diagnostic electrophysiology procedures, catheter ablation, cardiac resynchronization therapy, defibrillator and pacemaker implantation. The outpatient service also provides consultative services, including assessment for catheter ablation procedures for arrhythmias, and evaluation and follow-up of pacemakers and implantable defibrillators.
For more information or to see if you qualify for HARMONY please call the Department of Cardiology at Kent Hospital, at (401) 681-4996.