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3-D MRI for Hearts

SALT LAKE CITY (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Your heart is racing and you feel faint. You may be one of the 3.5 million Americans suffering from atrial fibrillation, or heart arrhythmia. It's a serious condition that can lead to stroke and death. About 66,000 Americans die of it every year.

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Deric Hopkins' heart was slowing him down. Hopkins' had radio frequency ablation to correct his atrial fibrillation. Doctors destroyed damaged heart cells and brought his irregular heart beat back into rhythm.

"I have a lot of vim and vigor," Hopkins told Ivanhoe. "I feel a lot better. I can walk now that I've had it."

Dr. Marrouche is referring to what goes on in his electrophysiology MRI lab, the first in North America. He is using 3-D MRI, first to diagnose a patient's atrial fibrillation and plan their ablation, then right after the procedure to see how well it worked.

"We'll be able to see what we do with 100 percent accuracy within your heart, the patient's heart, avoiding horrible complications that could be associated with the procedure," Dr. Nassir Marrouche explained.

With the press of a button, we can move the patient over, back to the MRI scan.

And patients don't even have to get up. Minutes after ablation, they're moved to the MRI room and Dr. Marrouche can see if more ablation is needed right away.

It's a more precise treatment than the one that cured Hopkins and one that's catching on around the world. Twenty-five facilities in the U.S., South America, Japan and Europe are looking into building labs like the one at University of Utah Healthcare.

The American Association of Physicists in Medicine contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.

Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:

Peter Duckler
Public Affairs
(312) 423-4930 (office)

Dr. Sudarshan Chamakuri
Medical Physicist
American Association of Physicists in Medicine


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