Traditionally, ultrasound imaging of the heart is done outside the chest with a probe and requires a large, heavy machine that cannot be moved easily. Now, the VCU Pauley Heart Center is the first in the United States to use a new type of intracardiac ultrasound machine that produces enhanced imaging of the heart, allowing cardiac electrophysiologists to better diagnose and treat atrial fibrillation. Intracardiac ultrasound uses a special catheter that is laced through a blood vessel in the leg and advanced into the heart. “We’re going from a machine that is quite big and takes up a lot of space to one the size of a laptop computer that is positioned at the bedside. It gives us spectacular images of the heart, our catheters in the heart and the structures in the heart and helps us do an even better job of ablating atrial fibrillation more safely and more effectively,” said Kenneth Ellenbogen, M.D., professor of cardiology and director of the cardiac electrophysiology lab at the VCU Medical Center, who performed the imaging technique using the new technology.
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