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St. David's Medical Center First in Texas to Implement Visually Guided Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- St. David's Medical Center today announced the use of an investigational, endoscopically guided laser catheter that allows for minimally invasive treatment of heart rhythm disorders that can result in a stroke. The procedure, called Endoscopic Catheter Ablation, was first performed in Texas as part of the ENABLE trial, a multi-center clinical investigation soon to be taking place at up to 25 hospitals throughout the country.

"With Endoscopic Catheter Ablation, for the first time, we can see directly into the heart to treat the areas that are allowing abnormal heart rhythm," Dr. Rodney Horton, electrophysiologist, Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia, a division of Texas Cardiovascular Consultants, said. "This technology could change the way we perform complex cardiac procedures."

During the Endoscopic Catheter Ablation, physicians insert a slender catheter into a vein in the patient's right leg. The catheter is threaded into the patient's chest and guided into a large vein in the heart using the real-time investigational endoscopic video camera, small amounts of traditional x-ray and ultrasound imaging.

Once in the area of the heart producing the abnormal rhythm, physicians visualize the target heart tissue for the first time. With the target located, the physician turns on the laser to highlight the area of treatment with visible light, while releasing precisely controlled arcs of near-infrared light around the opening of the vein. Several bursts of laser energy destroy an area of abnormal tissue while causing no significant damage to surrounding healthy heart muscle.

Heart rhythm disorders, called arrhythmias, affect millions of people each year. Roughly 2.2 million people in the United States suffer from one form of arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation or A Fib. During A Fib, the heart's two small upper chambers (the atria) quiver instead of beating effectively. Blood isn't pumped completely out of them, so it may pool and clot. If a piece of a blood clot in the atria leaves the heart and becomes lodged in an artery in the brain, a stroke results.

"The physicians and staff providing electrophysiology services at St. David's Medical Center are committed to the expert diagnosis and treatment of patients with cardiac arrhythmias, performing more procedures than any other group in Texas," David Huffstutler, chief executive officer, St. David's Medical Center, said. "We are proud to participate in this clinical investigation that has the potential to save many, many lives."

Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia

Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia, a division of Texas Cardiovascular Consultants, was founded in 1996 by Rodney Horton, M.D. The practice has grown to include seven clinical electrophysiologists specializing in the area of heart rhythm disturbances. Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Research, a division of Texas Cardiovascular Consultants, is committed to providing opportunities for patients in Central Texas to participate in studies utilizing the latest technology in the area of cardiac electrophysiology.

St. David's Medical Center

Since 1924, St. David's Medical Center has provided quality medical care to the residents of Central Texas. Conveniently located in central Austin at 32nd Street and IH-35, St. David's Medical Center provides comprehensive care with special expertise in neurology and neurosurgery, cardiac services, bariatric surgery, orthopedics, maternity and newborn services and rehabilitation. The medical center includes St. David's Hospital (acute care) and St. David's Rehabilitation Center (physical medicine and rehabilitation). For more information, please visit

Media Contact:

Kristin Marcum

Elizabeth Christian & Associates Public Relations


SOURCE St. David's Medical Center
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