(09/04/13) - A new high-tech procedure could put an end to irregular heart beats for some patients. These cardiac arrhythmias make life almost unbearable for millions of sufferers. But now, computerized magnetic navigation is calming racing hearts.
It has been nine years since, Angelo Woodard says, he has felt healthy enough to truly enjoy his life, "I haven't smiled in years, and that ain't no kidding."
Angelo had ventricular tachycardia , which caused severe heart palpitations, "and I felt that through my whole body."
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 a stiff catheter, by hand, through the heart.
"It'll actually put pressure on the heart and there's a chance you can make a hole," says Dr. Usman Siddiqui, and electrophysiologist at Florida Hospital.
The new catheter is soft like a noodle. Doctors use a joystick and huge magnets to move that noodle through the heart. Computer software creates a 3D map that highlights the trouble spots.
"You have a roadmap now," and, Siddiqui says, the new technology enhances precision, which leads to fewer complications, improved outcomes and faster recoveries.
One week after surgery the pounding going on inside Angelo's body was gone, "I can do anything. I go to the gym every day, spend time with my daughters. so, it's great"
The new technology also shortens the time it takes to perform the procedure, reducing radiation exposure to the patient and surgeon.
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