Advanced Surgical Techniques to Treat Abnormal Heart Rhythm 02/14/2011
Doctors at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana are among the first in the state to use new technology and procedures to treat abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias. These advances result in greater precision and better results for patients. During a traditional atrial fibrillation (afib) ablation, specially trained doctors called Electrophysiologists use catheters to build an electrical roadmap of the heart and then destroy cells around the heart that are causing the abnormal heartbeat.
This roadmap is created with a mapping catheter that records electrical signals from various locations in the heart. The most important element in mapping and ablation is placing the catheter in the correct location to create an accurate map, ensuring that only abnormal tissue is destroyed.
Electrophysiologists at Our Lady of the Lake can now perform a traditional ablation using a tool called the Sensei X Robotic Catheter System, by Hansen Medical, Inc. This sophisticated robotic platform integrates advanced levels of 3D catheter control with 3D visualization. This combination provides greater accuracy and stability to the surgeon during electrophysiology procedures.
Another option for patients with a-fib is called the Convergent Procedure. The Convergent Procedure is when an Electrophysiologist and Cardiothoracic surgeon work as a team to combine the best of both traditional catheter and surgical ablation treatments. The procedure uses extreme heat to produce scar tissue on the heart to block abnormal electrical signals. The Cardiothoracic surgeon ablates the outside of the heart through a single, small incision made in the patient’s abdomen, then Electrophysiologist threads a catheter through an artery in the groin to reach the inside of the heart to complete the ablation.
Arrhythmias, or electrical problems of the heart, affect five million people each year. When the electrical impulses that cause the heart muscle to contract are not transmitted normally, an arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat occurs. Arrhythmias can take place in a healthy heart and be of minimal consequence, but they may also indicate a serious problem and lead to heart disease, stroke or sudden cardiac death.