AI Getting Your Heart Rhythm Back


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common heart rhythm disorder in the world and impacts more than six million Americans right now. Not only does AFib cause your heart to beat out of whack, but it increases your risk of blood clots and stroke. Early treatment can be life-saving, but treating it the wrong way can be life-threatening. AI may help doctors get it just right.

Cardiac electrophysiologist at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida, Matthew McKillop, MD, FACC, FHRS explains, “Atrial Fibrillation’s an abnormal heart rhythm. What we don’t want are patients having fast heart rates for very long periods of time.”

And AFib can be silent, ultimately leading to a stroke. But Dr. McKillop hopes that artificial intelligence will help doctors successfully treat AFib before that can happen.

“This is one of the most interesting parts of the technology developments in my career,” Dr. McKillop expresses.

Currently, doctors use a catheter to go inside the heart and collect electrical signals to find out what’s causing the irregular heartbeat. Dr. McKillop was the fourth doctor in the world to use the Star Apollo Mapping System to make sense of the chaos. It uses AI-driven, high density mapping catheters to help precisely target the problem.

Dr. McKillop further explains, “Within about five minutes, we identify somewhere between 10 and 50,000 points of information. And so, that information is obviously too complicated and too dense for us to unpack ourselves.”

But AI can quickly decipher the information, allowing Dr. McKillop to use ablation to get the heart back in rhythm. There are five U.S. centers taking part in this study and they are all are currently enrolling patients that have already had one ablation, but still have AFib.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Matt Goldschmidt, Videographer & Editor.

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REPORT:        MB #5347

BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is a common heart rhythm disorder characterized by irregular and often rapid heartbeats. Normally, the heart contracts and relaxes in a coordinated rhythm to pump blood effectively throughout the body. In atrial fibrillation, the electrical signals in the heart’s upper chambers (atria) are chaotic, leading to irregular heartbeats and an inefficient pumping of blood. Between close to three million and six million Americans have atrial fibrillation, and that number is expected to jump to over 12 million by 2030. There are four types of AFib: paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, persistent atrial fibrillation, long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation, and permanent atrial fibrillation.


DIAGNOSING: Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include, but are not limited to: palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, lightheadedness, reduced ability to exercise, shortness of breath, and/or weakness. Doctors can typically diagnose AFib with blood tests, and ECG or EKG, a Holter monitor, an event recorder, an implantable loop recorder, an echocardiogram, exercise stress tests, or a chest x-ray. Common risks of atrial fibrillation are: age, caffeine, nicotine, or illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, family history, having had heart surgery, high blood pressure, obesity, and/or thyroid disease.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida is using AI mapping to detect atrial fibrillation in heart patients. “During the recent procedure, cardiac electrophysiologist, Matthew McKillop, MD, used the AI-powered mapping system to help pinpoint the areas causing the patient’s atrial fibrillation. Computer algorithms summarized thousands of data points to identify areas that were potential drivers for Afib so they could be targeted for treatment. The hope is that this mapping technology will bring an increased level of precision to ablation procedures, allowing for more discrete, high-value areas to be targeted and treated using a limited amount of ablation.”



Emily Sharpe                                      Wesley Roberts      

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