Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Robotic Catheter Ablation for Heart Rhythm Disorders

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Robotic Catheter Ablation for Patients Suffering Heart Rhythm Disorders

Irakli Giorgberidze, M.D., Electrophysiology Laboratory director, (left) uses the Sensei® X Robotic Catheter System, to treat a Veteran suffering from an abnormal heart rhythm. Photo: Lucy Lacy, Cath Lab Nurse Manager

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) is one of the first VA hospitals to offer innovative robotic catheter ablation technology for patients suffering from abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia.

“This state-of-the-art technology allows us to steer the conventional ablation catheter inside the heart chambers with much more ease and precision, and to access areas of the heart that were previously difficult to reach using traditional methods,” said Irakli Giorgberidze, M.D., Electrophysiology Laboratory director at the MEDVAMC and assistant professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. 

Recently approved for commercial use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Sensei® X Robotic Catheter System, is a very specialized and highly sophisticated tool used for catheter-based mapping within the chambers of a patient’s heart.

Previously, two-dimensional technologies, such as fluoroscopy or ultrasound, were used by physicians to guide catheters inside the heart. As a result, achieving steady contact at every location within the heart necessary for a successful procedure was challenging. Now combining a robotic motion control with three-dimensional visualization of the cardiac chambers, this technology allows physicians more precise manipulation and stable catheter positioning during complex cardiac ablation procedures.

“An added benefit of this new technology is that it allows the physician to remotely control the catheter resulting in a significant reduction in radiation exposure for both the patient and the interventional electrophysiology team,” said Hamid Afshar, M.D., staff cardiac electrophysiologist at the MEDVAMC and assistant professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

“This new technology increases accuracy and reduces procedure time, which means our patients have less tissue damage and less discomfort,” said Blase Carabello, M.D., Medical Care Line executive. “We are proud the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center has some of the best doctors and nurses in the country and offers the latest, minimally invasive alternatives for our Veterans.”