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Heart procedure makes U.S. medical history

Sarah Howard's Patient StorySarah Howard traveled from rural Holt, Missouri, for a relatively common procedure called ablation to correct her abnormal heart rhythm. Yet news of her treatment at The University of Kansas Hospital traveled across the nation when she made U.S. medical history.

For years, Sarah had periodically experienced a racing heart. She wasn’t alarmed until an episode lasted so long she had to have her heart stopped and restarted.

After that, Sarah was afraid to drive, walk the trails around her country home or work as a hospital nurse. A heart rhythm specialist determined she needed a procedure to correct her condition.

The heart of innovation

When Sarah arrived at the hospital’s Center for Advanced Heart Care for her scheduled procedure, she was in for a surprise. Electrophysiologist Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, MD, told her about a new tool that could reduce radiation exposure anywhere from 15 to 90 percent during her treatment.


D.J. Lakkireddy, MD, electrophysiologist, describes the benefits of the new MediGuide Technology.

Called MediGuide Technology, the GPS-like system gives physicians unprecedented views inside the heart through three-dimensional images. This allows them greater precision in guiding a catheter to treat the area causing abnormal rhythm – and allows them to complete the procedure in a fraction of the time previously required. Less time equals less radiation exposure.

First in U.S.

This revolutionary technology was so new, in fact, The University of Kansas Hospital would be the first in North America to use it – that very morning, on Sarah, if she agreed. Many patients might have been anxious, but Sarah was excited.

“I felt like I’d won the lottery,” she said. With a family history of breast cancer, she figured the less radiation, the better.

Sarah hadn’t expected to be part of a press conference or in the national news following her procedure, but she took it in stride. She was able to return home the next day and was soon back to normal activities.

“Being a nurse, I know what good care is, and The University of Kansas Hospital delivers excellent patient care,” she said.

Heart rhythm experts

Heart rhythm specialists at the Richard and Annette Bloch Heart Rhythm Center are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm and heart rhythm-related disorders. In 2012, U.S. News & World Report ranked the hospital’s cardiology and heart surgery program No. 24 in the nation, and the program has consistently ranked in the publication’s top 50 since 2007.