Current diagnostic testing for arrhythmia is quite often a hit or miss procedure. Catheters have many blind spots that prevent doctors from seeing the entire heart. The irregular electrical impulses that cause types of arrhythmia can be missed altogether, if they do not occur during the actual testing. If the rotational wave, or rotor, is not in the place being searched, doctors will not find it. Many patients have to go through more than one ablation procedure to fix the arrhythmia with mixed results.

A system for diagnosis of arrhythmia that utilizes new technology has been developed by Abbott Electrophysiology. Doctors can better identify the unique cause of each patient’s arrhythmia, and provide treatment that is more successful. That leads to less procedures and better patient outcomes. The system has two major components. The basket catheter contains a total of sixty-four electrodes within eight splines. T has no blind spots and can detect rotors in all spaces of the heart. The instrument is called FIRMap, which stands for focal impulse rotor modulation. It provides full chamber views of continuous electrical activity. The catheter is finding rotors in places that have not traditionally been searched. Atrial flutter, for example, usually occurs in the upper chambers of the heart, so the lower chambers were not considered an area where quick contractions would occur.

The second component of the system developed by Abbot Electrophysiology is a Rhythm View workstation that maps out the heart and indicates precise locati9ons of rotors utilizing specialized software. This cannot only help in diagnostic testing, but also guide doctors through ablation procedures. Making sure all disorganized electrical impulses are eradicated in one procedure means the patient will most likely not have to have the procedure repeated. The whole system is called the Topera 3D Physiologic Rotor Mapping System, and a hospital locator is available on the Abbott EP website. Other information at afib solutions includes patient information regarding arrhythmia signs and symptoms, contributing factors, and ways to improve symptoms. Doctor information includes an overview of the technology, independent case studies, guidelines for usage, and a demonstration of the system.

Arrhythmia affects millions of people, and can lead to heart attacks and strokes if left untreated. An accurate diagnosis is the first step toward successfully treating the exact cause for each patient. Treatments include medications, ablations, and pacemakers. Faster diagnosis and better outcomes from ablation procedures, may possibly lead to fewer pacemakers being necessary. The system is used in limited places at this time, but will be used in more hospitals as successes increase.