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Northwestern Medicine First in United States to Use Live 3D Intracardiac Echo for Heart Rhythm Procedure

Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute recently became the first cardiovascular program in the United States to use a new real-time 3D intracardiac echo (ICE) device for patients with heart rhythm disorders.

Bradley P. Knight, MD, medical director of cardiac electrophysiology and director of the Heart Rhythm Center at Northwestern Medicine was the first to use the new VeriSight Pro ICE* catheter during a cryoablation procedure to treat a heart arrhythmia. Dr. Knight worked with Philips during the innovation of the device, which uses soundwaves to create detailed live 3D moving images from inside the heart.

“While most echocardiography is done from outside the heart, or via the esophagus, this is a small device that can be placed inside the heart chambers, during the procedure, providing us real-time images of the heart’s blood flow and structures, the interventional tools being navigated within the heart, and some areas of the heart that are difficult to view through more traditional echocardiography,” said Dr. Knight. “I’ve always been interested in better imaging in the electrophysiology lab to directly visualize what we are doing inside the heart during procedures such as catheter ablation, and the capabilities of this new real-time 3D echo catheter far exceed anything previously available.”

Standard transthoracic echocardiograms, or those performed on the chest’s surface, provide limited views of some heart structures far from the chest surface. Transesophageal echoes, or echoes performed through the esophagus, often require general anesthesia.

Dr. Knight said for a certain group of patients, general anesthesia is not recommended and is not needed when using this real-time 3D ICE. This will help open up a class of heart rhythm procedures for that patient group and allow most patients a quicker recovery time and speedier exit from the hospital.

ICE offers live image guidance for a wide range of procedures in electrophysiology and structural heart disease, allowing interventionalists to optimize cath lab performance. Some benefits of ICE are excellent patient tolerance, reduction of fluoroscopy time, and lack of need for general anesthesia or a second operator.

“Cardiac medicine is improving at astonishing speed, and this is just one example of that,” said Patrick McCarthy, MD, executive director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and the Heller-Sacks Professor of Medicine at Feinberg. “Our team at Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is pleased to be the first to offer this technology for heart rhythm procedures.”

Northwestern Medicine’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is one of the top 10 national programs for cardiology and heart surgery, according to U.S. News and World Report, and ranked the top cardiovascular program in Illinois and the surrounding states for more than 10 consecutive years.