GPS-Ready Lab Drives Safer, Faster Treatment for Heart Patients12/27/2012
December 28 — PROVO — Heart arrhythmia patients will soon receive safer and more accurate treatment thanks to a high-tech lab being constructed at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Designed to use global positioning-type equipment, the new electrophysiology (EP) lab will be the first of its kind in the United States.
Doctors estimate patients will receive nearly 80 percent less radiation with the new system than they do today. Construction on the new EP lab is scheduled to begin in early January and continue through the spring.
Utah Valley Regional’s new EP lab will be the first one to use this new technology to treat patients. Like other medical advances, this new equipment promotes better care and improved patient safety.
“Depending on the complexity of the condition, heart patients can be exposed to as much as an hour of radiation during treatment for atrial fibrillation,” said Chun Hwang, MD, an internationally known electrophysiologist at Utah Valley Regional. “The best part of the new lab is the reduced radiation exposure for patients and caregivers.”
Atrial fibrillation (a-fib) is the most common heart arrhythmia in the United States, impacting approximately 2.2 million people annually. Fluoroscopy, a rapid series of X-ray images, is used to give physicians a real-time view of a patient’s heart during an a-fib procedure. Lower exposure to radiation proves to be better for a patient’s health over time.
In Utah Valley Regional’s new EP lab, physicians will use devices containing tiny sensors that emit an electromagnetic signal. Tracking these signals on pre-recorded images allows doctors to avoid using prolonged fluoroscopy during the procedure. It also increases the accuracy of mapping a person’s heart which is needed to find the correct source of the arrhythmia.
“The improved accuracy in the new lab gives us a greater chance of success in correcting a person’s arrhythmia with less scar tissue on the heart,” said Dr. Hwang.