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Bucks County Hospital Adopts High-Tech Treatment For Atrial Fibrillation

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(An electrophysiology lab during abalation procedure.  Photo provided by St. Mary Medical Center)

(An electrophysiology lab during abalation procedure. Photo provided by St. Mary Medical Center)

(Photo by Ed Fischer) Lynne Adkins
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By Lynne Adkins

LANGHORNE, Pa. (CBS) — A local hospital has begun using a new catheter technology to improve treatment for people with abnormal heart rhythms.

The procedure is called a cardiac ablation, and it is often used to treat patients with atrial fibrillation, or “A-fib,” the most common heart rhythm problem.

Dr. Eran Zachs, a cardiac electrophysiologist at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, says doctors use cardiac ablation to selectively destroy the heart tissue causing the irregular rhythm, thereby treating the A-fib.

(Dr. Eran Zachs.  Photo provided by St. Mary Medical Center)

(Dr. Eran Zachs. Photo provided by St. Mary Medical Center)

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But if the lesion is less than perfect, the procedure may not return the heart to normal rhythm.

Now, Zachs says, he’s using a new, high-tech catheter which lets him know how much force is being applied, and specifically where.

“With this new ability to measure what’s called ‘contact force’ on the catheter, we’re potentially able to make better lesions that are more durable, because we know if we don’t exert enough force with the tip of the catheter we won’t make a good ablation lesion,” he explains.

 

(The Thermocool Smart Touch catheter, used for cardiac ablation.  Photo provided by St. Mary Medical Center)

(The Thermocool Smart Touch catheter, used for cardiac ablation. Photo provided by St. Mary Medical Center)

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The catheter uses an elaborate combination of springs and sensors to tell the doctor what is going on during the procedure.

 

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