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Can life-threatening arrhythmias be treated without an operation?

Can life-threatening arrhythmias be treated without an operation?


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Radioablation can cure complicated cardiac arrhythmias

A Swiss team of doctors has successfully used a new treatment for life-threatening arrhythmias for the first time. The core aspect of the treatment is radiation, which can be controlled and adjusted in real time thanks to new technology. This can be used to treat complicated cases of cardiac arrhythmia in which surgery was previously unthinkable.

MR-guided radio ablation is the new therapy option for severe cardiac arrhythmias. It can save the lives of people with cardiac arrhythmia, where conventional treatment methods fail to start. The new procedure has been available in the Clinic for Radio-Oncology at the University Hospital Zurich since April 2019 and has recently been used for the first time worldwide.

Control irradiation in real time

The treatment can be carried out with the so-called MRI Linac device. "With this linear accelerator, we can track every target in a patient's body before and during irradiation by means of MR imaging and control and adjust the irradiation in real time," explains physicist Dr. Tanadini-Lang how the device works. Thanks to real-time monitoring, the radiation can now be carried out even more precisely.

The device was developed for cancer treatment

"This new technology for cancer treatment was originally developed," emphasizes clinic director Professor Matthias Guckenberger in a press release on the new treatment method. Radio ablation has now been used for the first time worldwide to treat a patient with recurring, life-threatening arrhythmias. During the therapy, the area of ​​the heart muscle responsible for the rhythm disturbance is irradiated, the radiologists explain.

Hope for hopeless cases

Radio ablation offers a new option, especially for severe cases. The treated patient had previously received intensive but unsuccessful therapies. "Despite intensive drug therapy and repeated minimally invasive and surgical catheter ablation, the rhythm disturbances could not be prevented," says Dr. Ardan Saguner, senior physician at the cardiology clinic. Further invasive procedures would not have made sense due to the complexity of the case.

First and successful implementation

"We needed a new, innovative therapeutic approach for this patient," said Dr. Saguner. Treatment with the MRI Linac device provided the precision required for this procedure. As the medical team reports, the life-threatening rhythm disturbances could be stopped by radio ablation. The patient has since been discharged from the hospital without rhythm disturbances.

Successes have yet to be checked

This treatment is still an experimental procedure that needs to be further investigated in larger clinical studies in terms of its long-term efficacy, the doctors point out. Cooperations are currently being set up at national and international level to carefully review the importance of radioablation. (vb)

Author and source information



Video: Got Rhythm? An Update on the Treatment of Cardiac Arrhythmias (September 2022).


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