Technology & Innovations
For a 2014 update about imaging, see my AF Report: Non-Invasive Electrocardiographic Imaging—ECGI—CardioInsight.
Most of the imaging technologies described here are in use today and represent huge advances in patient treatment.
Ordinary ablations use Fluoroscopy, a type of X-ray to see inside and ablate the heart. But it is two dimensional. Intercardiac Echocardiography (Ultrasound) (ICE) is also 2-D but provides excellent anatomic detail and assistance in navigating and positioning the catheter.
Electroanatomic Mapping (EAM) offers a 3-D view both outside and inside the heart in almost real time. New technologies combine both of these technologies. CartoSound (Biosense Webster, Cincinnati, OH) uses a proprietary 3D EAM system and incorporates the information obtained from an intracardiac ultrasound probe to visualize and map the heart. (3-D intracardiac ultrasound probes are being developed which would provide real-time 3-D imaging and navigating.)
From a patient’s perspective, should you try to find a larger facility that has CartoSound rather than one that only uses 2-D fluoroscopy?
Doctors using CartoSound would seem to have better imaging tools to do ablations. But doctors using fluoroscopy also get good results.
Computed Tomography (CT) can also be used to obtain detailed images of the left atrium. Rotational Angiography uses standard fluoroscopic equipment to obtain 3-D CT-like images while rotating around the patient. (Posted: February 19, 2011)
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Last updated: Sunday, February 15, 2015