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      New computerized heart arrhythmia procedures done at Syracuse's Upstate University Hospital

      Photo from Upstate University Hospital.

      Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse starts using a new $2.2 million remotely controlled computerized heart catheterization system this week. Upstate is now one of three hospitals in New York, outside of New York City, to use the Stereotaxis Remote Magnetic Navigation System. The system allows physicians to alter the rhythm of heart patients with abnormal patterns. Doctors can operate the catheter remotely from outside the room where the patient is being treated.

      Dr. Daniel Villarreal is the Chief of Division of Cardiology at Upstate. He is thrilled about the two ways the technology can help patients. He said, "This not only optimizes treatment outcomes, but at the same time, minimizes and reduces considerably the greater complications." Dr. Villareal said a more efficient test reduces the potential for problems by reducing the time with a catheter probing the patient. "The length of the study would be significantly reduced," said Villareal. "And after the completion of the study and restoration of the normal heartbeat, the patient would know the rate of recurrence of arrhythmia would be significantly less."

      Dr. Luna Bhatta is an interventional cardiologist practicing at Upstate University Hospital's new heart center. She used to have to wear a heavy lead vest to protect herself while manipulating the catheter through vessels in and around the heart. This new computerized procedure allows her to focus on the best way to end the poor rhythm in the patient. "I can concentrate with all my intellectual power, not worrying about physical fatigue and heaving to wear the lead vest," said Bhatta. "So it'll be a more efficient procedure in a shorter time, so it's very exciting technology."

      The new equipment is being used inside the hospitals brand new $15 million new Heart and Vascular Center on the hospitals sixth floor.