HOUSTON (September 10, 2013)

Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Southwest is now offering a new treatment for minimally invasive heart procedures that reduces radiation exposure for the patient, physician and associated medical staff.

The hospital is the first in Texas to employ St. Jude Medical's MediGuide™ Technology - a device that uses GPS-like technology to guide heart catheters during the surgical treatment of Arrhythmia, or an irregular heart rhythm.

MediGuide™ Technology is a 3-D visualization system that uses electromagnetic signals to evaluate a patient's vascular and cardiac anatomy and track its therapeutic and diagnostic devices in real-time on pre-recorded fluoroscopy images. Automatic adjustments are made to the previously recorded images to compensate for cardiac motion, respiratory changes and patient movement. This is different from the standard practice, where physicians view devices in the heart using live fluoroscopy, a rapid series of X-ray images that are taken throughout the course of the procedure.

"Similar to a global positioning system that drivers use to determine the location of their car on a map, this technology enables us to see and track the precise location and orientation of our tools within the cardiac anatomy." said Dr. Sohail Jalal, medical director of electrophysiology at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital. "The 3-D visualization is outstanding, but the real advantage of MediGuide is that it helps us perform safer procedures by reducing radiation exposure for all involved."

Worldwide, physicians perform several billion radiation-based imaging studies annually and approximately one-third of these studies occur in cardiovascular patients. This has led to a dramatic increase in human exposure to ionizing radiation, which studies show may elevate a person's risk of developing cancer, may present other health hazards and may impact overall health care costs systemically. According to the American Heart Association, the collective dose that patients received annually from ionizing radiation during medical tests increased among the general population an estimated 700 percent between 1980 and 2006.

"The MediGuide Technology is a great addition to our heart and vascular program and aligns with Memorial Hermann's initiative to provide high quality and safe patient care," said George Gaston, CEO of Memorial Hermann Southwest.