Variety

New technology to help doctors treat palpitations

K. V. Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on July 15, 2012

The four-centre long and 2-cm wide balloon, which reaches the heart using the same path used by doctors to send stents, would send back accurate picture using the 64 electrodes mounted on it.

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It is not abnormal for people to have irregular heart beats.

Doctors say every other heart beats a little abnormally faster at some point in a day. You don’t even notice it.

But what is abnormal to have these additional beats more than a certain limit, say, 15 or more. In medical terms, it called unifocal ventricular premature contractions (PVCs) or palpitations.

“About 50 per cent of us would have PVCs but less than two per cent have more than 50 PVCs in a day. These are present with uncomfortable awareness of heart beat, chest pain, giddy spells and loss of consciousness,” Dr Jayakeerthi Rao, a cardiologist and electro physiologist at Prime Hospital, told a press conference.

These PVCs could make your heart weak and could lead to cardiac arrest, if they last for long when left untreated. Some of them are treated with medicines. But this is riddled with side-effects.

Though there are certain procedures to treat the problem, doctors at Prime Hospitals performed a novel intervention to treat this. This reminds us of a GPS-navigated missile attack to destroy targets.

New technology

The team, led by Dr Rao, used a new technology to have a 3D map that reconstructed the anatomy of the chamber in question.

The four-centre long and 2-cm wide balloon, which reaches the heart using the same path used by doctors to send stents, would send back accurate picture using the 64 electrodes mounted on it.

They capture cardiac signals from the tissue around it, allowing the doctors to track the origin of the beat, its path and where it ends.

“Using radiofrequency ablation, we will kill the cell or group of cells that is home to the origin of the additional beat using the accurate map. This will result in a success rate of 95 per cent,” Dr Rao said.

On July 2, the team performed a 3D-mapping intervention on a cab driver, who was present at the press conference. The procedure costs Rs 2.50 lakh, including Rs one lakh for the balloon.

>kurmanath@thehindu.co.in

Published on July 11, 2012

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