New Technology to Calm Racing Hearts

New Technology to Calm Racing Hearts

Find out how a new high-tech procedure puts an end to racing hearts.
About three million Americans suffer from irregular heartbeats, also known as cardiac arrhythmias. For many who have them, life is brutal. Some people can be treated with medicine, but others need surgical intervention. Now doctors are using computerized magnetic navigation to calm racing hearts.

It's been nine years since Angelo Woodard has felt healthy enough to truly enjoy his life.

"I haven't smiled in years, and that ain't no kidding," ventricular tachycardia patient Angelo Woodard, told Ivanhoe.

Angelo had ventricular tachycardia, which caused severe heart palpitations.

While banging on his glass patio table, Angelo says, "This is what I felt 24 hours a day for nine years. Just like that, and I felt that through my whole body." 

For eight years, Angelo says he took prescription medications that didn't work.

"Kept me tired all the time, slept all day," Angelo said.

He recently underwent a new high-tech procedure using the Stereotaxis Magnetic Navigation System, which allows surgeons to more easily seek and heat-destroy the abnormal tissue causing the palpitations.

Traditionally, a doctor would push-by hand-a stiff catheter through the heart.

The new catheter is soft like a noodle.

Doctors use a joystick and huge magnets to move that noodle like catheter through the heart and the computer software creates a 3-D map that highlights the trouble spots.

"So now you have a roadmap. Now you can go to the area of interest, apply heat and take care of the problem," Electrophysiologist, Doctor Usman Siddiqui from Florida Hospital told Ivanhoe.

Doctor Siddiqui says the new technology enhances precision, which leads to fewer complications, shorter procedures which reduces radiation exposure, improved outcomes and faster recoveries.

One week after surgery Angelo's pounding was gone.

"I can do anything. I go to the gym every day, spend time with my daughter, so it's great," Angelo said.

All surgical procedures come with risks, so if you suffer from cardiac arrhythmias, talk to your doctor about the safest and most effective treatment for you.

WHAT IS VENTRICULAR TACHYCARDIA? Tachycardia is a heart rate of greater than 100 beats per minute. A normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute at rest. Ventricular tachycardia is a consistently, faster-than-normal heart rate that begins in the heart's lower chambers. In most patients with ventricular tachycardia the rate is in the range of 170 beats per minute or more. (SOURCE:

WHAT CAUSES VENTRICULAR TACHYCARDIA? Ventricular tachycardia is caused by other heart problems such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, an enlarged heart or after heart surgery because of scar tissue that forms on the heart. (SOURCE:

WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE? Radiofrequency catheter ablation (RCA) is a procedure performed by a cardiac electrophysiologist. In the first part of the procedure, the physician uses electrophysiology techniques to pinpoint the location in the heart where the abnormal rhythm originates. Next, the physician uses a catheter with a special tip on it that emits a high frequency form of electrical current. The energy is directed at the area in the ventricle where the abnormal current originates to destroy a tiny amount of tissue. This is called an ablation procedure. (SOURCE:


Chris Ramkissoon
Florida Hospital
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