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Dutch hospital reports improved treatment of cardiac arrythmias with imaging at lower radiation dose

By 21st October 2013No Comments

The Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven which houses the largest heart center in the Netherlands, has announced the results of a clinical study involving the treatment of 136 patients with complex heart rhythm disorders such as atrial fibrillation (AF). Using Philips’ innovative AlluraClarity system with ClarityIQ technology, developed for use in image-guided catheter-based interventions, electrophysiologists at the Hospital were able to reduce patients’ exposure to X-ray radiation during the procedure by 42% while maintaining image quality. At the same time, the electrophysiologist’s exposure to X-ray radiation was reduced by 50% to only 3 μSv per procedure – approximately one thousandth of the average natural background radiation dose (2 – 3 mSv) that most people are exposed to each year. Many arrhythmias can be treated using minimally-invasive electrophysiology (EP) procedures, in which catheters are inserted into the patient’s heart and sections of heart tissue are ablated to prevent the propagation of abnormal electrical signals in the heart. Interventional X-ray systems are generally used as the standard live imaging technology for guiding such procedures. “With Philips’ ClarityIQ system we can further enhance imageguided catheter ablation therapy for complex heart rhythm disorders,” concluded cardiologist Lukas Dekker of the Heart Center at Catharina Hospital, “The number of people with arrhythmias eligible for catheter ablation therapy is increasing sharply, so treating the condition needs to be made simpler and even safer. In addition to minimizing the risk to patients, reducing X-ray dosage is also an important step for medical personnel, because many of them are exposed to X-ray radiation on a daily basis.” Over the past 20 years, the number of people admitted to hospital with arrhythmias has increased by 66%, with the total number of patients predicted to double over the next few decades as a result of the ageing population. During the past decade, catheter ablation of complex arrhythmias has evolved rapidly from an investigational procedure to its current status as a commonly performed ablation procedure carried out in major hospitals throughout the world. Catheter ablation procedures, which are increasing at a double-digit growth rate, continue to become faster and safer as a result of the establishment of specialist treatment centers such as the Catharina Hospital, and improvements in medical technology. “Live images are essential during catheter ablation therapy for heart rhythm disorders because of the complex anatomy in the areas of the heart that need to be ablated,” said Ronald Tabaksblat, General Manager of Interventional X-ray at Philips Healthcare. “Together with our clinical partners, we have developed the Clarity IQ technology, and overcome the technical hurdle of combining high image quality with low X-ray dose for a broad range of X-ray guided procedures”.