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Novel imaging approach may assist in predicting success of treatment for atrial fibrillation
Date:10/7/2008

SALT LAKE CITY University of Utah researchers have developed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based method for detecting and quantifying injury to the wall of the heart's left atrium in patients who have undergone a procedure to treat atrial fibrillation. The results of the study are published in the Oct. 7, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm, that involves the heart's two upper chambers, or atria. One effective method of treating AF is radiofrequency (RF) ablation. In RF ablation, mild, painless radiofrequency energy is used to destroy carefully selected heart muscle cells to stop them from conducting extra electrical impulses. Previous research suggested scar formation within the left atrium (LA) after RF ablation helps to predict the success of the procedure in preventing the recurrence of atrial fibrillation.

"Until now, there has not been an accurate, non-invasive way to assess LA scar formation," said lead author Nassir F. Marrouche, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine in the University of Utah School of Medicine and director of the Atrial-Fibrillation Program. "We have developed a novel MRI-based method to detect and measure the extent of LA wall scarring and, potentially, predict the success of RF ablation in patients with atrial fibrillation."

MRI is a medical imaging technique that utilizes a powerful magnetic field to create detailed images of the body. In this study, Marrouche and his University of Utah colleagues developed a technique for using a non-invasive method called delayed-enhancement cardiovascular MRI (DE-CMRI) to create 3-D images of the left atrium both before and after RF ablation in patients with atrial fibrillation. They processed and analyzed these images using custom software tools and then used computer algorithms to calculate the extent of LA wall injury.

Marrouche and his co
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Contact: Chantelle Turner
chantelle.turner@hsc.utah.edu
801-581-7387
University of Utah Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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