A new high-tech procedure puts an end to a father's pain

About 3 million Americans suffer from irregular heartbeat, also known as cardiac arrhythmias.

For many who have them, life is brutal.

Some people can be treated with medicine, but others need surgical intervention.

Doctors are now using computerized magnetic navigation to calm racing hearts.

It's been nine years since Angelo Woodard has felt healthy enough to truly enjoy his life.

Angelo had ventricular tachycardia, which caused severe heart palpitations.

He recently underwent a new high-tech procedure using the stereotaxis magnetic navigation system, which allows surgeons to more easily seek and heat-destroy the abnormal tissue causing the palpitations.

Traditionally, a doctor would push, by hand, this stiff catheter through the heart.

"It'll actually put pressure on the heart and there's a chance you can make a hole,” Doctor Usman Siddiqui explains.

The new catheter is soft like a noodle.

Doctors use a joystick and huge magnets to move that noodle through the heart.

This computer software creates a 3-d map that highlights the trouble spots.

Doctor Usman Siddiqui says the new technology enhances precision, which leads to fewer complications, improved outcomes and faster recoveries.

One week after surgery the pounding...

“I can do anything. I go to the gym every day, spend time with my daughters. So, it's great."

Doctor Siddiqui also says the new technology also shortens the time it takes to perform the procedure, reducing radiation exposure to the patient and surgeon.


REPORT: MB# 3665

WHAT IS VENTRICULAR TACHYCARDIA? Tachycardia is a heart rate of greater than 100 beats per minute. A normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute at rest. Ventricular tachycardia is a consistently, faster-than-normal heart rate that begins in the heart's lower chambers. In most patients with ventricular tachycardia the rate is in the range of 170 beats per minute or more. (SOURCE: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/salivary-gland-stones)

WHAT CAUSES VENTRICULAR TACHYCARDIA? Ventricular tachycardia is caused by other heart problems such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, an enlarged heart or after heart surgery because of scar tissue that forms on the heart. (SOURCE: www.my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/disorders/electric/ventricular-tachycardia.aspx)

WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE? Radiofrequency catheter ablation (RCA) is a procedure performed by a cardiac electrophysiologist. In the first part of the procedure, the physician uses electrophysiology techniques to pinpoint the location in the heart where the abnormal rhythm originates. Next, the physician uses a catheter with a special tip on it that emits a high frequency form of electrical current. The energy is directed at the area in the ventricle where the abnormal current originates to destroy a tiny amount of tissue. This is called an ablation procedure. (SOURCE: www.my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/disorders/electric/ventricular-tachycardia.aspx)

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Chris Ramkissoon
Florida Hospital

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