3D radiation-free heart mapping:
- Is used to track irregular heartbeats to cure arrhythmias with radiofrequency ablation that destroys abnormal tissue.
- Combines navigation, imaging and mapping capabilities to precisely locate catheters in the heart.
- Is especially valuable for mapping complicated arrhythmias and processing heart images into detailed 3D models.
Arrhythmias affect an estimated 14.4 million Americans and can be targeted for ablation and potential cure. The most common type of treatment is atrial fibrillation, which involves the two upper chambers (atria) of the heart and affects two million people, particularly those over 60.
How it's Performed
Envision the heart as both mechanical and electrical — it's a physical pump whose action is triggered by the body's electrical impulses. That's why heart disease can be caused by blood flow blockage or electrical problems.
Using a magnetic system comparable to a GPS in your car, heart mapping:
- Creates a much-improved three-dimensional model of the heart, without X-rays.
- Uses catheters with miniature electromagnetic sensors in their tips allow specialists called electrophysiologists to create and manipulate a computerized 3D map of a patient's heartbeat. The path that the heartbeat follows through cardiac tissue can be identified much more quickly and completely than previously was possible.
- Allows electrophysiologists to track electrical activity in real time, providing a clear image. They can maneuver the catheters to reach specific areas of the heart causing abnormal electrical impulses. Once there, the physician can quickly administer radiofrequency energy to destroy abnormal tissue. In most cases, this eliminates the arrhythmias.
The procedure usually takes less than a few hours. When successful, it is a permanent cure.