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Mapping the Electrical “Hurricanes in the Heart”

The Valley Heart & Vascular Institute is the First in the Country to offer Breakthrough System that Pinpoints the Source of Atrial Fibrillation

To effectively treat heart rhythm abnormalities, you first have to identify the source of the problem. The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ, is the first hospital in the country to employ a revolutionary 3-D heart mapping technology that pinpoints the source of the electrical impulses disrupting the heart’s normal rhythm, allowing for more effective diagnosis of and treatment planning for a variety of arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, atrial tachycardia, and ventricular tachycardia.


An estimated 2.7 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation (also called AFib). That’s as many people as the entire population of Chicago, the third largest city in the nation. When AFib occurs, the heart beats irregularly, and this can lead to stroke and other heart-related complications.

Treatments to control the rhythm and rate of the heart include medications and surgical procedures. While there are a variety of options, not all patients respond to current treatments, which is why doctors are looking for new approaches. Valley’s Arrhythmia Institute — part of the Valley Heart & Vascular Institute — has long been on the forefront of the research and application of new approaches for the treatment of AFib.

One of the latest advancements at Valley’s Arrhythmia Institute is the use of the FIRMap™ catheter and Topera RhythmView™ Workstation, which provide a dynamic representation of the electrical activity of the heart, enabling physicians to visualize and target the sources of AFib better than current procedures. It pinpoints the errant electrical phenomena – the “hurricanes in the heart” — that are disrupting the heart’s normal rhythm, according to Jonathan Steinberg, M.D., Director of the Arrhythmia Institute.

“Prior to availability of this next-generation computational 3-D mapping system, it was not possible to identify and narrowly define the specific tissue that was causing atrial fibrillation in my patients,” Dr. Steinberg said. “This new system now enables me to find the exact source of the arrhythmia and quickly and precisely target my therapy to that specific spot in the heart with remarkable results.”

The Valley Heart & Vascular Institute has evaluated the Topera system over the past two years in the most challenging of AFib patients and followed their outcomes closely. The patient results were included as part of a multi-center study that was recently presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Dallas and showed that the 3-D mapping system offers a significant improvement to standard catheter ablation for AFib.

“We were the first hospital worldwide to use the RhythmView Workstation when it was cleared by the FDA and now we’re the first hospital to be able to pair the most recent version of the workstation with the newly FDA-cleared FIRMap catheter specifically designed for it,” Dr. Steinberg said. “We are now pleased to offer it to all our patients with atrial fibrillation.”

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