Technology improves mapping of heartbeat abnormalities

2013-05-08T18:30:00Z 2013-10-31T13:52:59Z Technology improves mapping of heartbeat abnormalitiesBy Vanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3244 nwitimes.com

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP | A technology upgrade to 3-D cardiac mapping equipment at Porter Regional Hospital will improve accuracy in locating the source of abnormal heart beats, leading to more efficient treatment.

Doctors in the hospital's electrophysiology lab used the new software for the first time on a patient Tuesday, said Matt Loveitt, a registered nurse and supervisor of the electrophysiology lab.

Staff at the lab treat the electrical workings of the heart.

"This software update basically allows us to target those specific tachycardias in the ventrical and then integrate them with this 3-D map we've done, to provide better procedure efficiency," he said.

The software, called the PaSo Module, is an upgrade to the Biosense Webster Carto 3 Cardiac 3D Mapping System, which helps pinpoint heartbeat abnormalities.

"It does a lot of the calculations for you during the procedures," Loveitt said. "It's going to increase the accuracy and speed of finding the arrhythmia."

When medications are ineffective in treating abnormal heartbeats, a patient may undergo a cardiac ablation. An ablation involves inserting a catheter into a specific area of the heart and applying heat to fix it.

"It basically short-circuits the circuit, so it will stop," Loveitt said.

With the previous equipment, doctors had an idea of where heat should be applied. The upgrade increases the accuracy of locating problems in the lower chambers by measuring the percentage of likelihood that the catheter is in the correct area, Loveitt said.

"This will reduce the amount of heat applications to the heart to terminate the tachycardia, therefore reducing the procedure length and, most of all, the procedural risk," he said.

The patient Tuesday had a ventricle tachycardia arrhythmia. Cardiac ablation normally would take six hours. But, with the upgraded technology, it took half the time, said Dr. Scott Kaufman, a cardiac electrophysiologist.

"When we got to the exact location where the arrhythmia was originating from, the computer told us we had an identical map, more than 99 percent," he said. "It just makes it a lot quicker for us."

Doctors started doing catheter ablations in 1989 on more simple rhythm problems. As the technology has evolved, the use expanded to more complex procedures, Kaufman said.

Hundreds of thousands of ablations are performed each year.

"It's pretty common," he said.

Porter Regional Hospital was the first facility in Indiana to perform a procedure with the PaSo module to the Carto 3 system, Loveitt said.

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