Press Release

St. Francis Takes Part in Major Nationwide Study That Offers New Hope for Patients with Persistent Atrial Fibrillation

December 14th, 2017

St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center® is the first and only site on Long Island to participate in the aMAZE Trial for patients with long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation. The aim of this national study is to determine if a combination of two non-surgical treatments -- pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) and closure of the left atrial appendage (LAA) using the LARIAT® procedure -- may treat atrial fibrillation more effectively than PVI alone. 


The study, sponsored by California-based device maker Sentre HEART, Inc., is being conducted to determine whether the LARIAT procedure, currently approved by the FDA, can help patients with persistent Afib when done in addition to Catheter Ablation. It will be led at St. Francis by Joseph Levine, M.D. Director of Electrophysiology, and co-investigator George Petrossian, M.D., Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Procedures. 

“We are very excited to be participating to this study,” says Dr. Levine. “It may offer new hope for patients who’ve undergone repeated ablations, but whose atrial fibrillation persists.”    

Rather than removing the LAA surgically, the LARIAT procedure closes it off non-surgically, using a loop of suture material. Catheters are used to deliver the suture loop, slip it around the LAA, and tighten it to close off the appendage. This isolates the LAA, potentially reducing its ability to add to the irregular rhythm of the heart. 

Afib is an irregular heartbeat, a rapid heartbeat or a quivering of the upper chambers of the heart.

It results from a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system. Afib is the most common heart rhythm disorder in the U.S., affecting more than three million people. It can lead to heart and valve diseases, sleep apnea, and chronic fatigue. It can also lead to two potentially life-threatening conditions: stroke and congestive heart failure. 

“We look forward to eventually being able to provide Afib patients with some much needed relief by being able to perform two key treatments in tandem and hopefully save them from repeated visits to the hospital,” says Dr. Petrossian. 

Referring physicians and prospective patients, who have questions about the study, can call (516) 414-3222 or (516) 484-6777 for more information.


Contact: Paul Barry, 516-563-7970,

             Rosemary Gomez, 516-563-7965,