With this new technology, cardiologists will now be able to treat thousands of more patients who suffer from advanced forms of atrial fibrillation and were previously not felt to be good candidates for this procedure.
"The capabilities of the new technology can be compared to a symphony concert," said Jared Bunch, MD, medical director for electrophysiology research at the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center. "During the concert, you have many different instruments all playing different parts, much like the heart has many frequencies that drive the heartbeat. This novel technology allows us to pinpoint the melody of an individual instrument, display it on a 3-D map and direct the ablation process."
The research team used the new 3-D mapping technology on 49 patients between 2012 and 2013 and compared them with nearly 200 patients with similar conditions who received conventional treatment during that same time period.
About one year after catheter ablation, nearly 79% of patients who had the 3-D procedure were free of their atrial fibrillation, compared to only 47.4% of patients who underwent a standard ablation procedure alone without the 3-D method.
"This new technology allows us to find the needles in the haystack, and as we ablate these areas we typically see termination or slowing of atrial fibrillation in our patients," says Dr. Day.
All of the patients in the study had failed medications and 37 percent had received prior catheter ablations. The average age of study participants was 65.5 years old and 94 percent had persistent/chronic atrial fibrillation.
Previous research has shown that the incidence of atrial fibrillation increases with age. A report from the American Heart Association shows the median age for patients with atrial fibrillation is 66.8 yea
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Intermountain Medical Center