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St. Luke`s physician pioneers new way to map images of the heart

Monday, March 01, 2004

MILWAUKEE, Wis, Jasbir Sra, M.D., a world-renowned electrophysiology expert, has revolutionized 3D mapping of the heart when pinpointing irregular heartbeats.

This 3D mapping of the heart utilizes computerized technology to help physicians pinpoint the exact location of an irregular heart rhythm. Working with software leaders, Dr. Sra pioneered this technique, which allows a physician to see the heart’s left atrium and pulmonary veins in real time, enhancing the ability to accurately locate irregular signals within the heart for ablation.

During mapping, two catheters are placed inside the left atrium – one with many electrodes on a small balloon and a second, more flexible, catheter used for the actual ablation. The electrodes track the movement of the catheter. A computer is then able to turn that information into a 3D model of the left atrium. When that model is combined with a previously done CAT scan, the physician has a never-before-seen 3D look at the heart that can help identify the electrical origins of an irregular heartbeat.

Once the source of the irregular heartbeat is determined, physicians are able to work with a precision not previously available to restore a normal heart rhythm. This mapping procedure is often done in conjunction with ablation procedures. Previously, radiofrequency and microwave ablation were the most common forms of energy utilized to correct heart rhythm problems. Now new technology permits cryoablation, or freezing, of the origin atrial flutter.

St. Luke’s Medical Center is a part of Aurora Health Care, a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in 80 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.


Contact: Jennifer Gross

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