To date the treatment of atrial fibrillation was either shock -- cardio-version or cautery of the place in the heart where the arrhythmia was emanating, a treatment called Catheter Ablation. But these treatments only works about half the time. Now, those odds may be about to improve, thanks to a new way of pin pointing the origins of the arrhythmia.
"A computer simulation shows what happens during atrial fibrillation. Instead of contracting normally, the heart flutters" Jeffrey Goldberger, M.D., chief of cardiology at University of Miami Hospital said.
" Doctors thread tiny tubes through veins and into the heart to record the source of the irregular heartbeat.Then we take our catheter and put it there and either freeze or burn it and get rid of the source of the irregularity" explained Dr. Goldberger.
However, he said, current heart mapping systems aren’t very effective when it comes to AFib. Dr. Goldberger has pioneered a new mapping system. It’s called morphology recurrence plot, or MRP.
“What that looks at is the morphology of the signal we get inside the heart,” detailed Dr. Goldberger. Sophisticated software plots abnormal signals in red so doctors can precisely target the ablation to get rid of the atrial fibrilation.
“Then we can improve our success rate from the 50% level to what we see with other types of heart rhythm problems, which might be in the 90% plus range,” explained Dr. Goldberger.
The new mapping system is currently being used on patients in a study at the University of Miami.