"Love trying his wings in a first little flutter."

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Justine Cadet,
News Editor

While Scottish mystery writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle metaphorically refers to the emotional pleasantries so often linked to the myocardium, this week physicians and regulators have made strides for treating atrial fibrillation (a-fib), a condition in which fluctuations in the heart can prove deadly.

Last Friday, the FDA granted marketing approval to Biosense Webster's NaviStar ThermoCool catheter as the first ablation catheter in the U.S. to be approved for the treatment of recurrent symptomatic paroxysmal a-fib. Simultaneously, market research firm Millennium Research Group released a report, estimating that the a-fib ablation catheter market will reach $480 million by 2013.

This week, the FDA cleared Transoma Medical's next-generation cardiac monitor, designed so that physicians can remotely monitor a variety of cardiac arrhythmias, including ventricular tachycardia, bradycardia and a-fib.

Regarding anti-arrhythmic drugs, authors of the ATHENA trial published their long-awaited results in today's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, which found that Sanofi's Multaq, along with standard therapy, significantly reduced the risk of first cardiovascular hospitalization or death by 24 percent in patients with a-fib.

Industry seems to be just as aware of this condition, which affects 10 million people in the U.S. Medtronic completed its $225 million acquisition of Ablation Frontiers, which was proceeded by its $380 million purchase of CryoCath Technologies in the fourth quarter of 2008.

However, during this week, which celebrates St. Valentine's Day, we can hopefully remember the niceties associated with the beating of our hearts.

For those of you interested in further reading about atrial fibrillation, feel free to check out our electrophysiology roundtable, where luminaries discussed the profits, procedures and patients involved in the field.

On these topics, or any others.

Justine Cadet, News Editor