St. Joseph's Hospital Performs First Cardiac Cather Ablation Procedures in Florida Using Innovative Cardiac Mapping System

March 14, 2016

St. Joseph’s Hospital has become the first hospital in Florida to perform a cardiac ablation procedure using the Rhythmia™ Mapping System, a new state-of-the-art, high-resolution 3D mapping and navigation solution. The hospital also was the third institution in the southeastern United States to acquire the Rhythmia Mapping System.  Electrophysiologist Dr. Kevin Makati performed the procedure today. 

“The Rhythmia system’s fast and detailed high-resolution maps made a tremendous difference in enabling me to quickly diagnose and treat the source of the patient’s arrhythmias, as well as efficiently confirm the success of the procedure,” Dr. Makati said. 

“This is a game-changing event; a real paradigm shift,” said Dr. James Irwin, electrophysiologist, who brought the Rhythmia Mapping System to the attention of hospital administrators. 

An arrhythmia is a disorder of the heart rhythm, beating too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregularly.  The heart muscle’s pumping action of contraction and relaxation is regulated by a unique system called the heart’s electrical system.  Arrhythmias are caused when the electrical system of the heart isn’t working properly.  

When medications are ineffective in treating some heart rhythm disorders, catheter ablation may offer the possibility of more definitive treatment of the arrhythmia. During catheter ablation, the physician inserts a catheter into the heart to deliver bursts of high-energy waves to disrupt the abnormal electrical activity.

Dr. Irwin is especially impressed with the IntellaMap Orion™ High Resolution Mapping Catheter that is used with the Rhythmia system.  The mapping catheter uses 64 electrodes, both magnetic and impedence-based, to determine data points.  “It’s actually a photographic technique,” Dr. Irwin said.  “It only takes about 30 minutes to obtain 50,000 points.  The information is much more accurate.” 

Using the system, within minutes the physician can create and view a highly detailed map of the patient’s heart to help determine the precise location to be treated with cardiac ablation. The system is the first of its kind to offer rapid high-resolution mapping, and is expected to potentially reduce procedure times. 

“Up until this point, the ability to map scarred tissue has been difficult.  This is the equivalent of seeing through a microscope rather than with the naked eye,” Dr. Irwin explained.  

"At St. Joseph’s Hospital, we are committed to implementing the latest technologies to treat our patients, and we are pleased to be one of the first institutions in the United States to offer the innovative Rhythmia Mapping System,” said Dr. Makati.  “It’s an important addition to our full suite of services to diagnose and treat a variety of heart rhythm conditions.” 

St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Heart Institute is a leading institution in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with abnormal heart rhythms. Its electrophysiology (EP) department has two state-of-the-art laboratories that offer a wide range of procedures to patients with detected heart rhythm abnormalities. Related services include  CryoAblation, Convergent hybrid, LARIAT and Cox Maze procedures. 

St. Joseph's Hospital Heart Institute is one of the most advanced and comprehensive centers for adult and pediatric cardiovascular medicine in Florida, performing more than 80,000 cardiac catheterizations.  In 2014, the hospital opened a new $20 million Heart Institute, featuring three cardiovascular operating suites, three cardiac catheterization labs, two electrophysiology labs and one hybrid integrated digital surgical suite.  St. Joseph’s Hospital Heart Institute provides advanced technology in the full spectrum of heart services, including valve and coronary surgery, TAVR, and the most up to date approaches for treating A-Fib. The hospital is one of the largest providers of heart attack care in Central Florida.  The institute has recently been identified as the leading Cryoballoon AF Ablation center in the world by device usage.   In addition, the hospital has been designated the leading teaching center for the Convergent Hybrid AF ablation. The institution is one of select centers to have helped the WATCHMAN device seek FDA approval by participating in early trials. 

“I am so proud of this institution and their commitment to providing state-of-the-art opportunities and equipment with the ultimate goal of being what’s best for the patient,” Dr. Irwin stated.  “We are performing procedures that major universities are not, which is fabulous.  Medical centers are coming here to learn about the Convergent procedure.  We are well ahead of teaching institutions.”

Dr. Makati concurred.  “We are the only U.S. hospital presenting at the ‘Cutting Edge Technologies’ session at the Heart Rhythm Society’s 37th Annual Meeting in San Francisco in May with other key opinion leaders. We are proud to represent St. Joseph’s Hospital.”

About St. Joseph’s Hospital

St. Joseph’s Hospital, part of the BayCare Health System, is known for advanced medical technology and compassionate care. Its Centers of Excellence include the Heart Institute, Cancer Institute, Stroke and Neuroscience Program, Robotic Surgery Program and Emergency/Trauma Departments, which treats more patients than any other hospital in the Tampa Bay region. More than 70 specialties are represented among the medical staff, from internal medicine to cardiology, neurology to surgery.  The hospital was founded in 1934 by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany. 

About BayCare Health System

BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 14 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care.