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    New Technology Increases Odds of a Cure for Patients with Arrhythmia

    Physicians with California Pacific Medical Center are among the first in the nation to use a new advanced mapping technology to help treat patients suffering from debilitating and potentially dangerous heart rhythm disorders.

    The technology, the newly FDA-approved CARTO® 3 Navigation System, uses a three-dimensional mapping system to enable doctors to quickly and accurately (maneuver or work) within the complex anatomy of the heart. This system will enable physicians to more effectively treat a wide range of cardiac arrhythmias or irregular heart rhythms, including atrial fibrillation, or AFIB, a problem that affects more than 3 million Americans and ventricular tachycardia, or VT, a potentially life-threatening heart rhythm.

    “This could dramatically improve our ability to help patients with atrial fibrillation,” says Dr. Steven Hao, an electrophysiologist with California Pacific Medical Center’s Atrial Fibrillation and Arrhythmia program in San Francisco, and one of the first physicians in the U.S. to use the CARTO® 3.

    In AFIB the heart’s two upper chambers beat erratically causing an irregular and often rapid heart rate. About 15 percent of strokes occur in people with AFIB.

    One of the most effective methods of treating it is to use an ablation catheter, inserted into the heart, which using radiofrequency energy to burn specific cells in the lining of the heart, thus and restoring the heart’s normal rhythm. 3D electromagnetic mapping technology has been used with great success since 1995, however, this new platform recently approved by the FDA, has been enhanced in terms of speed, high resolution mapping and streamlining the work flow during the ablation procedure. In addition the new technology allows visualization of all catheters placed in the heart chambers with real time navigation.

    “We are excited about this because it allows us to provide very accurate mapping and faster ablation times with less fluoroscopy,” says Dr. Hao. “Anytime you can reduce a patient’s exposure to X-rays it is a good thing. We are also confident this will help us offer up to 90 percent of our AFIB patients a cure, and thereby reduce or eliminate their need for medications.”

    The medications used in managing AFIB and other irregular heart rhythm problems can be effective but also come with side effects including fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, even lung and liver toxicity.

    Because of America’s aging population it is estimated that by 2050 the number of people with AFIB could rise to almost 16 million.

    California Pacific Medical Center’s Atrial Fibrillation and Arrhythmia program is considered one of the leading programs in the U.S., performing 450 AFIB ablations annually more than any other hospital west of the Mississippi. A survey of AFIB patients on the website,, rated CPMC as one of the best three hospitals in the world for the treatment of AFIB.