Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Is the First in the World to Use New Heart Mapping System

The technology provides detailed, real-time information about electrical impulses of the heart.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) announced Wednesday that cardiologists at the CardioVascular Institute at BIDMC have become “the first in the world since federal approval” to perform procedures with the aid of a new heart mapping system.

The new technology, called the 3-D Rhythmia Mapping System, was created by BIDMC electrophysiologists Mark E. Josephson, MD, and Elad Anter, MD. The system was designed to pinpoint rhythm abnormalities and improve the accuracy and speed in which heart rhythm abnormalities can be depicted on a computer screen. Both physicians have been involved in the design and development of the system for the past five years. Dr. Anter performed the pre-clinical research and testing that led to the device’s FDA approval in 2013.

“The success of electrophysiology procedures is highly dependent on two things—operator skill and technology,” Josephson said in a statement. “On the technology side, mapping systems contribute to the speed and accuracy with which ablations are performed.”

Josephson and Anter have been performed several procedures using the Rhythmia Mapping System since August on conditions that involve irregular heartbeats.

According to hospital reps, the first patient who benefitted from the new technology is a Boston resident, and that Josephson is not new to the heart mapping game:

[Josephson] was the first to develop heart-mapping techniques that are the basis of all cardiac catheter ablation procedures. Using these tools, he pioneered systematic programmed stimulation of the heart to treat ventricular tachycardia and he described the pathophysiology of lethal arrhythmias associated with heart attack. He worked with surgical colleagues to develop mapping-guided surgery to cure ventricular tachycardia, which is still the most effective treatment for that disorder.

“We try to help arrhythmia patients first with medicines, but when that approach doesn’t work, catheter ablation is a non-surgical approach that can improve patients’ quality of life and even save lives,” Anter said in a statement. “Improved mapping means safer and more effective procedures for patients.”

Here’s how a mapping system works:

Mapping systems produce images that help the electrophysiologists performing catheter ablation procedures to identify where to deliver the radio waves. The Rhythmia Mapping system collects high-resolution data much faster than other systems. It consists of a catheter with 64 tiny electrodes mounted on its tip.

The physician inserts the catheter through an artery and into the heart, where it senses electrical circuits. Software processes this data and rapidly produces colorful, moving high-resolution images on a computer screen that is visible to the physician performing the procedure.