ST. LOUIS - Radiation exposure is often a concern for patients undergoing certain medical procedures and clinicians working near it for extended times.
For some patients with pre-existing conditions the risks from radiation are even more worrisome.
As an added benefit for these patients, Mercy Heart and Vascular Hospital is now offering patients with cardiac arrhythmias (rapid or irregular heartbeat) a fluoroless (or radiation-free) ablation. More than 100 of these cases have been done at Mercy, the only hospital in the area offering this procedure.
Traditionally, catheter ablations have been done with the aid of fluoroscopy (imaging using x-rays to obtain real-time moving images of the internal structures) to direct catheter placement. Radiation exposure has been linked to increased cancers, skin injuries, genetic defects and cataracts.
“We have long been working to reduce the amount of radiation patients and co-workers are exposed to,” said Dr. J. Mauricio Sanchez, Mercy Clinic electrophysiologist. “We’ve gradually been reducing the use of fluoroscopy and can now safely go without, unless visualization of the coronary artery anatomy is needed.”
Supplemental technology such as 3D-mapping systems and intracardiac echocardiography aid the physician in leading the catheter to the heart.
When radiation guidance is needed, Mercy electrophysiologists are skilled at limiting the exposure, averaging less than three minutes of radiation for traditional ablations.
For more information about the procedure, talk with your primary care physician or call Mercy Clinic Heart and Vascular at 314-251-1700.