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The Cure

Magnetic Heart Operation

A new initiative involving video game skills and giant magnets, is helping doctors treat faulty heart rhythms.

Last updated: 25 Feb 2014 12:01
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Millions of people suffer from a potentially fatal irregular heartbeat, which is often caused by problems with the heart’s electrical system. 

But now a pioneering procedure, involving two giant magnets steered by a joystick, is helping treat patients with faulty heart rhythms.

Conventionally, a fine tube is manually guided into the patient’s heart to treat it, which can risk puncturing the organ. But Dr Sabine Ernst at London’s Royal Brompton Hospital uses a pair of one tonne magnets to steer a soft magnet-tipped tube with far greater control.

This is used to burn small areas of the heart tissue, interrupting the faulty electrical signals which cause the irregular heartbeat. 

The treatment takes half the time of traditional manual procedures, and is producing impressive results. 

On this segment of The Cure, Anya Sitaram joins Dr Ernst as she operates on a patient with a congenital heart condition, and finds out why her video game skills are coming in handy.

 

 

Watch The Cure on Tuesday 22:30; Wednesday 09:30; Thursday 03:30; Friday 16:30; Saturday 22:30; Sunday 09:30; Monday 03:30; Tuesday 16:30 GMT. 

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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