New kit renders X-rays obsolete at St Andrews Hospital
THE days of St Andrew's Hospital doctors using X-rays to find irregular heart rhythms are numbered with centre installing a new 3D cardiac mapping system.
Rather than blasting a patient with radiation to see inside their heart, cardiologists use a groin-feed catheter with an electrical sensor attached.
It creates a detailed map of the electrical pulses driving the heart.
"We then study how the electrical current flows in different areas of the muscle," St Andrews Cardiologist Shameer Ahmed said.
"It helps us localise where the arrhythmia is coming from for us to treat that specific point."
Once the precise location of the irregularity is found the treatment is made easier and involves applying a high heat energy to the abnormality.
Dr Ahmed said the process had a 95 per cent success rate.
More importantly, it signals a move away from X-ray, which safe for both medical staff and patients.
"There are lot of heart centres that have gone to zero X-rays and they just use this as a mapping system," Dr Ahmed said.
"To find these arrhythmias you needs a live X-ray feed happening and that means we are getting exposed to radiation.
"We do wear a heavy lead garment but it is very heavy and it is hard to spend six hours in a lab with that on."
The new kit came on line recently, as St Andrew's marked one year since it opened its Rapid Access Heart Centre.