Last Updated on July 5, 2021 by Larious
Dr. Andrea Natale is an internationally renowned yet down-to-earth cardiologist whose primary practice is at St. David’s Hospital in Austin, Texas. Dr. Andrea Natale has served on the Stanford and Duke medical school faculties and has authored, coauthored, or been cited as an authority in no fewer than 1,109 published papers in the peer-reviewed medical literature.
Dr. Andrea Natale’s contribution to medicine focuses on the use of a technique called radiofrequency ablation to stop atrial fibrillation at its source. In collaboration with colleagues at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, he developed a custom-made, 16-electrode floating catheter that easily maps sites in blood vessels of the heart and lungs that trigger atrial fibrillation. With this tool, interventional electrophysiologists now treat patients whose atrial fibrillation cannot be controlled with drugs.
Taking Electrophysiology and Pacing to the Patients Who Need Them
Although Dr. Andrea Natale’s medical practice home is a highly regarded hospital in Austin, Texas, Dr. Andrea Natale believes in taking the technology to the heart patients in need.
Andrea Natale’s personal approach to medicine involves first empathizing with the patient, as he believes it’s important for patients to know that their doctor feels and cares for them..
Dr. Andrea Natale chose in part to practice at St. David’s because of its reputation for excellent, empathetic healthcare. He notes that St. David’s has nurtured a highly professional, extraordinarily well-trained staff that projects genuine care for patients and their treatment outcomes.
However, Dr. Andrea Natale’s medical practice has never been inclined to remain solely in Austin. They offer medical expertise in nine locations outside Austin, where they form teams with local cardiologists. Not everyone who needs radiofrequency ablation of the pulmonary veins to control medication-resistant atrial fibrillation can come to Austin, but the most complex cases are brought to St. David’s.
If you don’t make the effort to take care to different places, Natale says, some patients will not have access to care. Doctors with specialized expertise can bring local practitioners up to speed to increase treatment options.
How Important Is the New Technology for Treating Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation, also known as AF and AFib, is an overly rapid beating of the upper chambers of the heart, the atria, out of sync with the lower chambers of the heart. Forcing blood into the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart) can cause clots to form, which can trigger a stroke.
Approximately a quarter of people who develop atrial fibrillation have a pre-existing heart condition called congestive heart failure. Roughly a sixth of those who develop atrial fibrillation also develop congestive heart failure. The two heart conditions together meld to become a single, persistent, debilitating drain on quality of life.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that atrial fibrillation is the primary cause of death for 25,000 Americans every year. It is a contributing cause of death in 175,000 more. Epidemiologists estimate that 12 million more Americans will be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation by 2030.
How Much Difference Have Dr. Natale’s Techniques Made in Atrial Fibrillation?
The most common medication for atrial fibrillation has side effects of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, insomnia, headaches, tremors, and, in some cases, turning skin purple. Even though taking this drug can become a matter of life and death, patients often choose to stop taking it. It’s not unheard of for families going through a deceased loved one’s things to find unopened bottles of atrial fibrillation medications.
Dr. Andrea Natale’s method reduces, and sometimes eliminates, the need for medications that cause onerous side effects associated with medication.
Radiofrequency ablation as a treatment for atrial fibrillation has another outstanding advantage over alternative treatment methods: Patients often gain 8 to 12 percent “ejection fraction” – the ability of the heart to pump blood – after the procedure. Upwards of 70 percent of patients are AF-free six months after the procedure, with renewed energy to continue the daily activities of life.
A Cardiologist with a Countless Experience
Dr. Andrea Natale’s contributions to patient care and Afib treatment technique are a natural outgrowth of a distinguished medical career.
The doctor earned a medical degree at the Universita’ degli Studi di Firenze in Florence in his native Italy in 1985. He completed a four-year residency in cardiology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, prior to completing clinical internships at Methodist Hospital System in Houston, Texas, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of Wisconsin Sinai Samaritan.
Dr. Andrea Natale served as the director of the electrocardiology services for the Italian Air Force for five years and for eight years as the director of electrophysiology at the Cleveland Clinic. He has taught medicine at the University of Kentucky, Duke University, Stanford University, and Case-Western University, where he holds the distinction of performing the first percutaneous epicardial radiofrequency ablation on patients for whom conventional ablation had failed.
Since 2008, Andrea Natale has served as the Executive Medical Director of the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David’s Medical Center, Austin, Texas, a position he concurrently holds with his Case-Western professorship .
A Cardiologist Who Cares
Dr. Andrea Natale’s career exemplifies how simple human empathy can drive medical technology, and how medical innovation can be brought to the people who need it most. Dr. Natale is an iconic cardiologist who cares deeply for patients and his profession.