St. Vincent’s Doctors Increase Reliability of Heart Procedure by Utilizing Ultrasound Technology | Health

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St. Vincent’s Doctors Increase Reliability of Heart Procedure by Utilizing Ultrasound Technology
Health, People
St. Vincent’s Doctors Increase Reliability of Heart Procedure by Utilizing Ultrasound Technology

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ponte Vedra resident Michele Goff always thought her ticker was in tune, but after suffering a heart attack at a local grocery store, she faced a new reality – heart disease.   


The 54-year-old wife of local musician Murray Goff was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (Afib), the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm, during diagnostic tests surrounding her heart attack. Goff’s physicians recommended a procedure called catheter ablation, which necessitates threading a catheter through a vein in the leg up into the heart to cauterize and scar the abnormal tissue that causes Afib.

After extensive research into practices around the area, Goff decided to entrust the performance of the procedure to Dr. Anthony Magnano, a cardiac electrophysiologist at St. Vincent’s Medical Center Riverside with Diagnostic Cardiology Associates.

“During my initial consultation with Dr. Magnano, there was a point when I felt so overwhelmed by my condition that I broke down and cried,” Goff said. “Dr. Magnano comforted me and treated me like a human being, not a number. That’s when I knew I could trust my life in his hands.”

Magnano performed Goff’s procedure late in 2011 utilizing techniques that increase the reliability of the catheter ablation while reducing surgical radiation. St. Vincent's and Yale University are the only two sites on the East Coast that serve as active educational centers certified to teach experienced physicians how to use these ultrasound-based techniques.

“We developed our techniques alongside a technological movement that has transformed how we perform catheter ablations,” Magnano said. “Now we utilize technology that not only reduces radiation; it creates a safer and more reliable procedure overall.”

Magnano said that five years ago the catheter ablation techniques he utilized could include up to two CT scans and 60 minutes of fluoroscopy to position catheters, techniques that are commonplace in ablation procedures. After adding up the sum radiation level of this approach, Magnano and his team recognized that it could equate to a roughly .1 percent increase in lifetime risk of cancer. In other words, one in 1,000 patients may get cancer someday because of the radiation emitted during that specific procedure. Magnano and his team conduct almost 400 catheter ablations each year, which equates to one person facing the plight of cancer every two and a half years.

Magnano and his team found a way to achieve this reduction in radiation levels through several technologies including the AcuNav Ultrasound Catheter from Biosense Webster. This unique catheter is placed inside of the heart and acquires real-time, radiation-free images of the heart and other catheters, thereby helping physicians navigate through the patient’s heart during the procedure. This decreases the time of fluoroscopy dramatically, with the majority of procedures requiring just two to six minutes of fluoroscopy time.

Goff recently visited Magnano for her 12-month postoperative visit, a major milestone for those who undergo catheter ablation. She said she no longer suffers from Afib and appreciates Magnano’s efforts to continuously improve the quality of his healthcare practices.

“It just goes to show that Dr. Magnano truly cares about the well-being of his patients,” she said. “I can’t thank him enough for giving me a healthy heart and a fresh start.”

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