New medical device makes it easier for doctors to detect heart abnormalities

RAPID CITY, SD (KOTA) – Rapid City’s Monument Health Heart and Vascular Institute is the first location in South Dakota to be using the new Octaray medical device.

The device is used to detect abnormal heart rhythms called Atrial fibrillation, commonly known as “A-FIB”, which is a type of heart arrhythmia.

What is Heart Arrhythmia?

According to the United Kingdom National Health Service, arrhythmia is the improper beating of the heart, which could mean irregular, too fast, or too slow. The NHS also adds that there are 5 main types of arrhythmia:

  • Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Supraventricular tachycardia
  • Bradycardia
  • Heart block
  • Ventricular fibrillation

With AFib being the most common type of arrhythmia among older adults and is a common cause of strokes.

What is atrial fibrillation?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when a person has AFib, the breathing in the upper chambers of the heart is irregular, and blood does not flow as well as it needs to from the atria to the lower chambers of the heart.

The rhythm irregularity in the heart is what the Octaray device is mapping by measuring the electrical system in the heart during the arrhythmia.

Monument Health Heart and Vascular Institute and Octaray

With Monument Health being the first health care system in South Dakota to introduce the new technology; they have been able to see firsthand what makes it better than the previously used Pentaray.

“Behind me is an image of what the maps look like. This is the back of the upper left chamber of the heart, the patient is in arrhythmia and with this Octaray we were able to map 50,000 points,” said Monument Health electrophysiologist Saverio Barbera.

The map that Barbera is pointing at is what the Octaray has mapped out(Humberto Giles-Sanchez)

“Normally, we were happy with if we had a few thousand points, but now we get 50,000 points and we can see the electrical activity moving around the heart much more clearly,” said Barbera.

Barbera also explains the reason the device is so precise is because the eight splines that the device has contain 48 sensors in total. This is compared to the five splines and 20 total sensors of the Pentaray.

Aside from the Octaray being a big leap for AFib technology, South Dakota is also among the first in the nation to start using it.


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