McLaren Flint First in Michigan to Use a New Life-Saving Technology

Author: Sherry Farney

PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured l-r Brandon Barber, Medtronic; Todd Harmon, McLaren Flint Cardiovascular Technologist; Abdul Alawwa, MD, McLaren Flint electrophysiologist; Kim Bueche, McLaren Flint Cardiovascular Technologist; and Mark Kinney, Medtronic.

McLaren Flint, part of statewide McLaren Health Care, has once again expanded its cardiovascular capabilities and has now become the first hospital in Michigan to use new technology to treat patients with abnormal heart rhythms.

McLaren Flint electrophysiologist Dr. Abdul Alawwa was the first in Michigan to use the Nitron CryoConsole ™ Cardiac Cryoablation System from Medtronic in late April. He treated a patient whose abnormal rhythm was affecting their heart’s electrical impulses, putting them at increased risk of suffering a stroke.

“We strive to use the latest technology to support the high-quality patient care we deliver,” said Dr. Alawwa. “This advanced cryoablation system is another step forward in providing our patients with the latest clinical advancements to manage their heart health. The Nitron system allows the physician more control of the movement and inflation of the balloon, and temperature adjustments during the procedure. In addition, it offers enhanced data features both during and after the procedure.”

A cryoablation is performed to restore normal heart rhythm by disabling heart cells that create an irregular heartbeat. Using “cryo”, or extreme cooling technology on the damaged tissue instead of heat, reduces the risk of impacting healthy heart tissue and surrounding structures.

This minimally invasive procedure is performed in a heart catheterization lab. A thin flexible tube, called a balloon catheter, is inserted through an incision in the groin and advanced through a vein until it reaches the pulmonary veins of the heart where the area of damaged tissue is located. Most patients can return home the same day.

“This is the second example in the past month to highlight how investments in the latest medical technologies continuously enhance our care and service offerings for the benefit of our patients,” said Chris Candela, McLaren Flint President and CEO. “The first example occurred in mid-March when McLaren Flint became one of the first hospitals in the country to implant a new defibrillator device, designed for patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. However, investing in new technology is only part of the process. We also must have devoted clinicians who want to enhance their skills to use the software, techniques, and devices, to provide the best treatment options and care to patients.”

For more information on cardiovascular care at McLaren Flint and to meet the clinical team, visit