Heart Patients Benefit from Reduced Radiation

Heart Patients Benefit from Reduced Radiation - MediGuide
Phil Isbell listens as Mark Seifert, MD, explains MediGuide technology images that allow less radiation exposure.

There's no denying Phil Isbell's big heart when he talks about his wife, daughters and grandchildren. Unfortunately, that big heart started to fail last summer when he suffered a series of complications after a heart attack.

"I kept getting more tired," said Phil, 72. "I had less energy, especially when it came to swinging my golf club. My primary care physician sent me to a cardiologist for follow-up."

Phil was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, a common heart arrhythmia. It led to the diagnosis of Class III (moderate) heart failure, said Mark Seifert, MD, electrophysiologist at John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital.

With new MediGuide technology, North Mountain is the first hospital in Arizona to offer patients reduced exposure to radiation – or no radiation in some cases – during certain cardiac procedures.

More about MediGuide

  • Medical imaging through an X-ray only provides a snapshot of the body. To accurately project images of the heart, a continued series of X-rays – also called fluoroscopy – is necessary. However, fluoroscopy can result in prolonged exposure to radiation for patients and staff.
  • MediGuide's 3D visualization system uses low-power electromagnetic signals to locate a miniature sensor in the tip of the cardiac catheters.
  • MediGuide Technology can reduce or eliminate the need for live fluoroscopy by using pre-recorded fluoroscopic images. This reduces radiation exposure for patients and staff because fluoroscopy is only needed at short intervals. The short duration of the fluoroscopic images can be constantly "looped"or replayed.

MediGuide can be used with:

  • Atrial fibrillation procedures.
  • Defibrillator implantation.
  • Pacemaker implantation.

"After conducting an echocardiogram, I noticed the squeeze of Phil's heart was overall weakened and not contracting simultaneously," Dr. Seifert said. "When the walls of the left ventricle of the heart do not contract at the same time, they develop a slower increase in pressure in the chamber, leading to fatigue and breathlessness.

Phil needed a bi-ventricular pacemaker – a cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) system. It would allow both sides of the left ventricle to pace simultaneously again.

"Normal CRT procedures can take up to 30 minutes of X-ray time," Dr. Seifert said. "MediGuide allows us to take real-time 3D photos of the heart and synchronize these photos into a movie." MediGuide allowed him to do Phil's surgery using only 3.7 minutes of radiation.

"Radiation exposure can increase the risk for cancer and can cause damage to other tissues," Dr. Seifert said. "It's an honor to serve at an organization that provides the best care to patients not only to improve survival, but also to minimize exposure to the harmful effects of radiation."

Phil is eager to return to the golf course. "I can't wait to raise my arm and get back to playing golf. Dr. Seifert is dynamite."

For more information about MediGuide technology and reduced radiation heart procedures at North Mountain Hospital, please visit

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