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McLaren Macomb cardiologist only in state to offer radiation-free procedure for heart condition

Published on Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Dr. M. Cameron Willoughby

MOUNT CLEMENS, 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. 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.

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 Macomb
In January 2012, Mount Clemens Regional Medical Center became McLaren Macomb.

McLaren Macomb is a 288-bed acute care hospital located in Mount Clemens, Mich. More than 400 physicians and nearly 2,000 employees work at McLaren Macomb making it one of Macomb County’s top employers. McLaren Macomb provides a full range of services, including cancer and cardiovascular care. As Macomb County’s first verified trauma center, the hospital operates the busiest emergency department in Macomb County and is also an accredited chest pain center. McLaren Macomb has a rich history of providing high quality, compassionate health care and holds a strong position in the community it serves. To learn more, visit or subscribe to our blog

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