New Magnetic Navigation Platform Increases Patient Safety by
Significantly Decreasing Radiation Exposure
AUSTIN, Texas—On May 10, 2012, Heart Hospital of Austin performed a robotic cardiac ablation procedure using the Stereotaxis Epoch™ Platform to treat a complex cardiac arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. Epoch is a state-of-the-art computer-controlled robotic navigation system that allows physicians to safely navigate inside a patient’s heart to ablate diseased tissue causing a cardiac arrhythmia.
More than five million people in the United States currently suffer from abnormal heart rhythms. Those who suffer from abnormal heart rhythms are five to seven times more likely to have a stroke or experience more permanent damage to the heart. A growing number of complex cardiac interventional procedures is driving the need for new technology that enables physicians to confidently treat areas of the heart previously unreachable or potentially unsafe with manual techniques.
“Traditional manually guided ablation catheters can have inherent limitations at times when dealing with complex cardiac anatomy,” Jeffrey Whitehill, M.D., electrophysiologist at Heart Hospital of Austin and with Austin Heart, said. “This technology is a major step toward making robotics the standard of care for treating complex arrhythmias, and it is a big step toward the goal of exceeding the human hand. We believe it will help our patients, especially those with difficult-to-treat arrhythmias, return to a normal life faster and more safely than with traditional approaches.”
Epoch’s advanced computer-controlled technology allows physicians to treat common and complex cardiac arrhythmias with improved safety, precision and efficiency. The physician uses sophisticated software to draw a highly detailed 3D map of the diseased cardiac tissue and drive powerful magnets positioned near the patient. Following the map, the magnets lead a soft catheter gently through the patient’s cardiac anatomy by guiding the catheter’s magnetic tip. Epoch also provides real-time collaboration for physicians. Additionally, the physician operates the technology remotely from a separate room or workstation, using two powerful magnets to guide a catheter. By combining Epoch with advanced mapping technologies, studies show X-ray exposure is reduced up to 60 percent for the patient and up to 90 percent for the physician.
“Every day, new technologies are paving the way for better outcomes and an improved quality of life for heart patients,” Dr. Whitehill said. “At Heart Hospital of Austin, we are committed to investing in the best tools that allow doctors to identify and treat problems quickly, efficiently and safely. This technology is an example of many investments that allow physicians to provide the best possible care and experience for their patients.”
Heart Hospital of Austin
Heart Hospital of Austin, located at 3801 North Lamar Boulevard, is part of St. David’s HealthCare, one of the largest health systems in Texas, which was recognized as one of the top 15 health systems in the U.S. by Thomson Reuters in January 2012. Specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, Heart Hospital of Austin is a shared vision of local cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons. Working with hospital leadership, the physicians created an atmosphere of quality, resulting in the leading cardiac program in Texas for six consecutive years as ranked by HealthGrades®—a leading independent health ratings organization. In July 2009, a study funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services revealed that Heart Hospital of Austin was the leading hospital in the United States for treatment of a heart attack. Heart Hospital of Austin has also been named a top cardiovascular hospital in the nation by Thomson Reuters for six years, most recently being named to the list of 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals in 2011. In addition to providing a full range of cardiovascular services and an advanced Executive Wellness Program, Heart Hospital of Austin has a comprehensive 24-hour emergency department. For more information, please visit HeartHospitalofAustin.com.