A University of Missouri School of Medicine researcher has evaluated technology that may be used to replace fluoroscopy, eliminating the need for X-ray during cardiac ablation procedures.

To disrupt abnormal signals that cause heart rhythm problems, the procedure of radiofrequency ablation uses a catheter to administer heat (from radio waves) to a very small area of the organ.

Fluoroscopy imaging allows doctors to pinpoint the treatment area to perform ablation. By using fluoroscopy imaging, however, patients are exposed to radiation ― and the amount varies depending on the procedure.

A study from Sandeep Gautam, MD, an assistant professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the MU School of Medicine, says electroanatomical mapping may be used instead of fluoroscopy, eliminating radiation exposure. Results of the study showed that electroanatomical mapping provided effective imaging equal to fluoroscopy.

Although many electrophysiologists continue to use fluoroscopy for ablation procedures due to concerns about procedural duration and efficacy, Gautam feels that change is just around the corner.

“With more research, I think there will be a natural progression toward minimizing and ultimately eliminating the use of fluoroscopy from most cardiac ablation procedures,” Gautam said.