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MILWAUKEE A new technology at Childrens Hospital of Wisconsin
is helping to heal heart arrhythmias, or irregular beats, in children by freezing the tissue causing the abnormality.
A special catheter made by Montreal-based CryoCath Technologies
reaches temperatures as low as minus 80 degrees Celsius inside the beating heart. In the catheterization laboratory at Childrens Hospital, an electrophysiologist and pediatric cardiologist guide the catheter through a vein into the patients heart. Cryotherapy then is used to numb the cells responsible for causing the problem.
Before this technology was available, we used electricity to burn the cells and not all areas of the heart were accessible, said Janette Strasburger, pediatric cardiologist at Childrens Hospital. With Cryocath, we are able to treat arrhythmias in children who otherwise might have had injury to the hearts rhythm, requiring a permanent pacemaker.
Another benefit of Cryocath is that the degree of freezing can be varied.
Cells can be cooled just enough to see if the correct location has been targeted and then ablated, added Anwer Dhala, electrophysiologist at Childrens Hospital.
Patients suffering from arrhythmias often experience a number of symptoms, including palpitations, the feeling of skipped heartbeats, dizziness, fainting, unusual fatigue, shortness of breath or chest pain or pressure.
Childrens Hospital is the only hospital in the state offering this technology to treat children.