New technology to treat racing hearts

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by KING 5 HealthLink

KING5.com

Posted on October 21, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 21 at 5:55 PM

It's been nine years since Angelo Woodard has felt healthy enough to truly enjoy life.

"I haven't smiled in years, and that ain't no kidding," he said.

His ventricular tachycardia caused severe heart palpitations.

"This is what I felt 24 hours a day for nine years," Angelo said while banging on his glass patio table.

For eight years, Angelo says he took prescription medications that didn't work.

"Kept me tired all the time, slept all day," Angelo said.

He recently underwent a new high-tech procedure using the Stereotaxis Magnetic Navigation System, which allows surgeons to more easily seek and heat-destroy the abnormal tissue.

Traditionally, a doctor would push — by hand — a stiff catheter through the heart. The new catheter is soft like a noodle.

Doctors use a joystick and huge magnets to move that noodle like catheter through the heart and the computer software creates a 3-D image.

"So now you have a roadmap," said electrophysiologist Dr. Usman Siddiqui.

Dr. Siddiqui said the new technology enhances precision, leads to fewer complications, improved outcomes and faster recoveries.

One week after surgery Angelo's pounding was gone.

"I can do anything. I go to the gym every day, spend time with my daughter, so it's great," Angelo said.

Dr. Siddiqui also says the new technology also shortens the time it takes to perform the procedure, which reduces exposure to the patient and to surgeon.

In Seattle, Swedish Medical Center was one of the first hospitals to offer this technology.

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