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Magnet-guided catheter system enables physicians to treat more conditions without surgery and with f

Houston, TX - 1/19/2004

A new magnet-guided catheter system designed to improve common cardiac procedures, such as stenting blocked arteries, placement of certain pacemakers and treatment of abnormal heart rhythms, is now available to patients at the Methodist DeBakey Heart Center. This technology is the first of its kind in Houston.  

Under the guidance of a physician, the technology uses a magnetic field to guide catheters through the arteries, making less-invasive treatment available to more patients. The magnetic force helps steer the catheter through the complex coronary system toward the affected or blocked area. The traditional method of manually twisting, turning and pushing the catheter through the arteries makes it harder to steer the catheter as it gets farther from the point of entry in the artery.  The new technology is designed to facilitate the ease and accuracy of cardiac procedures,making treatment safer and enabling some patients to avoid surgery. 

“The tiny magnet placed on the tip of the catheter’s guide wire is designed to provide physicians greater control and precision as they navigate through the arteries,” said Neal Kleiman, M.D. medical director of the cardiac catheterization lab at Methodist.  “This will provide us with greater access to complex anatomy of a patient’s arteries, thus enabling catheter-based treatment on a greater number of conditions.  It will also allow greater levels of accuracy and shorten the duration of many common catheter-based procedures we perform every day.”  

The device is also designed to allow physicians the ability to access vessels located in challenging positions within the body.  Previously, these arteries may have gone untreated or the patient may have undergone bypass surgery due to risks associated with using a catheter because of the size, location or anatomy of the artery.  With the new magnet-guided system, some patients may avoid surgery, because the magnetic force helps the physician to move the catheter into the desired treatment location.  

According to the American Heart Association*, an estimated 1.3 million inpatient cardiac catheterizations were performed in 2000.  With this new technology, Methodist expects to increase its ability to diagnose and treat patients with more complex coronary problems.

*American Heart Association 2003 Heart Disease and Strokes Update