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Innovative imaging system may boost speed and accuracy in treatment of heart rhythm disorder
Date:8/18/2010

ors have helped many people with weakened hearts live longer," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Nevertheless, the devices create their own set of problems, especially for people who have received multiple shocks. If this CT research yields quicker, more accurate ablations that are more widely available, it will go a long way toward improving the quality of life for these patients."

Electrical mapping

During electrical or voltage mapping, an electrophysiologist inserts a catheter with an electrode into an artery through the groin and guides it to the beating heart. Fluoroscopic imaging shows the placement of the electrode. The probe detects variations in electrical signals as it is moved a small distance at a time. High voltage indicates normal cardiac tissue. Low or no voltage is associated with dead scar tissue. A computer compiles the data into a map which shows where to apply ablation to eliminate cardiac tissue in and near the scars.

Electrical mapping is laborious and not error-free. Since the probe is moved only small distances, such as five to 15 millimeters at a time for each reading while the heart continues to beat, it may take up to several hours to complete the mapping process and extend the time that the patient is exposed to fluoroscopic X-rays. A scar section that is missed by just a few millimeters during ablation could be the source of additional electrical disturbances. Also, it is possible to get a false electrical reading if the probe does not actually make contact with the heart muscle.


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Contact: Bill Seiler
bseiler@umm.edu
410-328-8919
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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