McLaren cardiologist only physician in state to offer 'no-dose' procedure for common heart condition

3d heart mapping
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.

Dr. M. Cameron Willoughby
Dr. M. Cameron Willoughby
(click for physician info)
"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.

Click here to determine if you are at risk for atrial fibrillation.

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.