Artificial Intelligence in the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation & Other Arrhythmias
August 23, 2022
By now, we’ve all seen the incredible technological advances modern society has made. While we routinely see new devices on the market in medicine, especially in electrophysiology, our specialty, in particular, relies on advanced software to map the heart, guide the catheter, identify treatment areas and ultimately evaluate the effectiveness of the ablation or other arrhythmia treatment.
Currently, the technology we use relies on our best judgment to identify where the arrhythmia originates and ultimately treat the appropriate areas during an ablation. Once the treatment has been completed, we use the same technology to evaluate whether the treatment has been successful.
As anyone with Atrial fibrillation or Afib can tell you, arrhythmias can be unpredictable, and this is true even when you have just had an ablation. To be sure, cardiac catheter ablation, including RF and cryoablation, is highly successful when performed on patients that qualify. Upwards of 70% or more of ablation patients will see complete resolution of their arrhythmia after an ablation. However, as we’ve discussed elsewhere in this blog, there is the possibility that the patient requires subsequent ablation procedures – something we call touchups. This is because the arrhythmia may not have been measurable at the time of the original ablation.
To try to overcome this; there is a push that has begun to introduce artificial intelligence into the EP lab. This AI is armed with thousands of data points from previous catheter ablation procedures and aims to predict, using advanced algorithms, where to treat and ultimately where the arrhythmia could be, even if the patient is not having an episode.
Will the Robots Take Over Electrophysiology?
In the end, the technology we use in electrophysiology is simply an aid and does not replace, but rather enhances, the necessary experience and best judgment of the electrophysiologist. These advances in AI offer an additional perspective we cannot see, but ultimately, it remains up to us to handle each case with the patient’s best interest in mind. This may include subjective decision-making that AI simply cannot take into account.
While we rely on technology to make our therapies more consistent, safer, and more effective, there is no substitute for the patient-physician relationship. Everyone’s heart is different, and so is everyone’s experience with an arrhythmia. As such, Dr. Tordini and our team approach each case with appropriate care.
If you are experiencing a cardiac arrhythmia or were diagnosed with Afib, but lifestyle changes and medical therapy have not given you the relief you expect, we encourage you to make an appointment with our office and learn more about the procedures we offer to reduce our patient’s reliance on medication or eliminate it entirely. Atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias can be uncomfortable or even debilitating, but patients should know that there’s no reason why they can’t seek treatment from an experienced EP before an arrhythmia becomes persistent and therefore harder to treat.
Dr. Tordini is a part of Florida Medical Clinic in Tampa