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Ask the Expert: 3D mapping to help heart rhythm problems

3D heart rhythm mapping system can help doctors perform a cardiac ablation (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A local woman says breakthrough technology has made a big difference in giving her back a part of her life.

She'd always been active with family and friends, but Evelyn Eck says that started to change when suddenly she noticed, "I was having symptoms of my heart racing, I was feeling very tired."

It turned out Evelyn had a serious heart rhythm problem. Dr. Christian Hayes, who specializes in the electrical activity of the heart, diagnosed her with atrial fibrillation.

Initially, she was started on medications but when that didn't work, Dr. Hayes got some high-tech help from this 3D heart rhythm mapping system to perform what's called a cardiac ablation.

It's one of several procedures, "that we can offer that a few years ago we could not, that in some cases can cure atrial fibrillation."

The ablation destroys the tissue in the heart sending the wrong signal, "essentially we are building an electric fence if you will, to keep signals out of the atrium, and causing atrial fibrillation."

The mapping system allows him to create an image before the ablation with the help of a catheter, or tube run into the heart. "The catheter has a GPS on it, if you will, and that allows us to build a model."

Once he has the model he performs the procedure. The red in the picture shows him that it worked.

Dr. Hayes said treating heart rhythm problems reduces the long-term consequences. "It can lead to dementia, it can lead to worsening of heart failure, it can lead to a lot of problems, kidney problems."

For Eck, it's made all the difference. She just enjoyed a recent anniversary trip to Paris with her husband. Most of all, it has her "feeling like I can do whatever I want to do, and not be exhausted."

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