Utrecht doctors' 3D method place pacemakers more accurately

The_Stethoscope,_Peru Alex Proimos Wikimedia commons.

Doctors at UMC Utrecht developed a new method of placing pacemakers using special 3D images, known as Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT). This method will improve the accuracy in pacemaker placement and reduce the healthcare costs involved, NU.nl reports. 

Placing a pacemaker is a very complicated procedure - miniscule wires need to be placed at precisely the right location in a heart. Placing a wire in the left ventricle is especially difficult due to the presence of connective tissue after a heart attack and a nerve that runs close to the heart to the diaphragm. In 30 to 45 percent of cases the wire in the left ventricle is placed incorrectly, which results in patients seeing little to no benefit from the treatment or having to undergo the placement procedure again. 

According to cardiologist Mathias Meine, the new CRT method is much more accurate, which means that fewer procedures will have to be redone. The new method is also quicker, as the wires are immediately put in the right place. "This is a great benefit for patients and for healthcare providers: the procedure is shorter and simpler, the x-ray burden is lower and the result is better. This improves the clinical prospects and quality of life and significantly reduces costs."

Over the past few weeks five patients' pacemakers have been placed using the new 3D method. 

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