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A novel radiation ablation technique almost completely wiped out ventricular tachycardia in five patients who experienced thousands of episodes in the months leading up to the treatment, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers used noninvasive imaging techniques to identify the scarred area of the ventricle, then treated it with a short burst of radiation to burn off the damaged cells causing the heart to electrically malfunction. The latter part of the procedure, called stereotactic body radiation therapy, is most commonly used to target tumors in cancer patients.
“This is a game changer,” Melvin Scheinman, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and past president of the Heart Rhythm Society, told The New York Times. “There is no question that this will catch on.”
In the three months before the 15-minute treatment, the five patients had a combined 6,577 episodes of ventricular tachycardia, when the heart beats excessively fast and out of sync with its upper chambers. After a six-week “blanking” period during which the patients’ hearts recovered from the procedure, the patients had just four tachycardia episodes over the next 46 patient-months—a 99.9 percent reduction from pretreatment levels.
Read more from The New York Times below:
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Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
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