Back to Search Results

McLaren cardiologist only in state to offer ‘no-dose’ procedure for heart condition

Published on Thursday, February 09, 2017

PONTIAC, Mich.—McLaren Heart Rhythm Treatment Center cardiologist M. Cameron Willoughby, DO, a specialist in cardiac electrophysiology, is the first physician in Michigan to offer completely fluoroless (no radiation exposure) ablations as a treatment for all types of cardiac arrhythmias. Affecting more than 3 million Americans each year, cardiac arrhythmia is an interruption of the natural electrical pathways regulating the heartbeat and a symptom of multiple forms of heart diseases.

Responding to the industry-wide movement to limit patients’ radiation exposure during procedures, traditional ablations utilized X-ray technology to guide a heart catheter into proper position in order to precisely locate and treat the arrhythmia with an ablation. Ablations cauterize the damaged tissue so it can no longer disrupt the natural electrical pathways of the heart, normalizing function.

Dr. M. Cameron Willoughby
Electrophysiologist
(click for physician info)
Dr. Willoughby’s procedure utilizes ultrasound and 3D anatomical mapping technologies to create a map of the heart to guide the catheter, allowing it to sense electrical activity.

While there are some practitioners performing some fluoroless ablations for simple arrhythmia, Dr. Willoughby is the only physician in Michigan to use this radiation-free ‘no-dose’ technique to treat all forms of arrhythmia, including complex catheter ablations.

“This is something on the mind of every electrophysiologist and all physicians—to get as much radiation exposure out of procedures as possible,” Dr. Willoughby said. “Fluoroless ablations achieve this goal, while also providing us with the same—even greater—detail of the heart to ensure optimal placement of the catheter.”

Traditionally, fluoroscopy and X-ray technology was used to guide the catheter to locate the damaged heart tissue. The move to fluoroless benefits the patient by eliminating radiation (a natural carcinogen and teratogen) exposure and the risk of skin burns and other damages. This procedure will also allow pregnant women to receive treatment, as radiation exposure may lead to birth defects.

Procedures are performed at Mount Clemens-based McLaren Macomb through a concierge service. Patients are provided transportation while their families are met by a patient experience representative and escorted to their loved one.

Symptoms of arrhythmia include heart palpitations, racing heart and an unexplained fatigue leading to diagnoses of atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, supraventricular tachycardia and premature ventricular contraction, causing a decreased quality of life and, in extreme cases, cardiac arrest and sudden death.

To learn more about fluoroless ablations, treatment options for cardiac arrhythmia, or to make an appointment with the McLaren Heart Rhythm Treatment Center, call 586-466-4810.

About McLaren Oakland
McLaren Oakland is a 328-bed medical center that provides primary and specialty healthcare services to the greater Pontiac and Oakland County community. Founded in 1953, McLaren Oakland has grown to a comprehensive medical community that includes outpatient facilities in Clarkston and Oxford, as well as an inpatient hospital providing a range of clinical services including emergency and trauma care, cardiology, cancer services, minimally invasive robotic surgery and orthopedic services. With a network of more than 300 physicians, McLaren Oakland owns a network of employed physician offices throughout Oakland County and a nursing home in Lake Orion. McLaren Oakland is a verified trauma center and an accredited stroke center. To learn more, visit mclaren.org/oakland or visit our blog at mclaren.org.oaklandblog.

About McLaren Health Care
McLaren Health Care, headquartered in Flint, Michigan, is a fully integrated health network committed to quality evidence-based patient care and cost efficiency. The McLaren system includes 12 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, the state’s only proton therapy center, an employed primary care physician network, commercial and Medicaid HMOs covering more than 250,000 lives, home health and hospice providers, retail medical equipment showrooms, pharmacy services, and a wholly owned medical malpractice insurance company. McLaren operates Michigan’s largest network of cancer centers and providers, anchored by Karmanos Cancer Institute, one of only two National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the state. McLaren has 21,000 employees and more than 25,000 network providers. Its operations are housed in more than 300 facilities serving a 54-county market and 75 percent of Michigan’s population. Learn more at mclaren.org.