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St. David's Medical Center First in Texas to Implement Visually Guided Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation
Date:2/13/2008

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 th
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SOURCE St. David's Medical Center
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