Sunday, January 17, 2010
UVA researchers develop innovative procedure to safely treat common heart disorder without x-ray exposure (USA)
A growing body of research continues to warn of the potential long-term effects of radiation exposure for patients and medical providers during such imaging procedures as x-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans, both of which are traditionally used with certain heart procedures. Now researchers at the University of Virginia Health System have developed a promising x-ray free technique to treat a common heart disorder called atrial fibrillation - a breakthrough that could all but eliminate radiation exposure to patients and their medical providers. "One of the most exciting things about our research is the direct impact on patient care and safety," says John D. Ferguson, MD, associate professor of cardiology in the UVA School of Medicine. The study, led by Ferguson, appears in the December 2009 issue of Circulation. "Cardiac interventions continue to evolve toward lower risk procedures, and this study is another huge step in that direction." More than two million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition characterized by an irregular heart rate that can lead to weakness, blood clotting and even stroke.