Atrial Fibrillation is most common heart ailment in U.S.

Atrial Fibrillation is the most common heart ailment in the U.S., it can also be one of the most difficult to treat. Photo: Sinclair Broadcast Group<br> Atrial Fibrillation is the most common heart ailment in the U.S., it can also be one of the most difficult to treat.

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Now, thanks to ground breaking research, doctors are getting a never before seen look at the electrical activity inside the heart.

And as Terri Sullivan tells us, it’s making all the difference when it comes to treating patients.

Chiropractor Robert Kowalczyk’s high blood pressure sent him to the doctor a few years ago.

“Lightheaded and that sort of thing. Laying in bed at night I could feel my heart racing,” said Kowalczuk.

His doctor got right to the heart of the problem.

“She did an EKG and found I had a-fib.”

Atrial fibrillation, the most common abnormal heart rhythm in humans.

“The upper chamber of the heart is usually pumping. And when it fibrilates all the cells aren’t talking to one another, and the heart is just kind of wobbling so it’s not moving or transporting blood,” said John Hummel, MD with Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Hummel says treating persistent AFib can be a challenge, but thanks to groundbreaking research going on at the Ohio State University – Wexner Medical Center, that challenge is being met.

“We can study the heart using very high resolution 3 dimensional approaches,” says Vadim Fedorov, PhD with Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Using donated human hearts, Vadim Fedorov and his team bring the atria or upper chamber of the heart, back to life.

“We can inject special dye which has fluorescent properties and it has properties to change the florescence due to the electrical waves,” said Fedorov.

That allows the six special 3D cameras surrounding the heart to capture any changes in that electrical activity.

“We can focus the camera on different regions of the heart not only on one surface, but also one another and do it simultaneously,” according to Fedorov.

Each camera records 10,000 images, allowing scientists to visualize the electrical activity within.

“Sometimes looks like a little tornado inside of our heart,” said Fedorov.

Kowalchuk’s doctor was able to use that state of the art mapping information to pinpoint his problem area. He did an "ablation" making tiny scars on the heart to stop the irregular beat.

“They go up into the heart and they kind of Zap-it,” said Kowalczyk.

Kowalczuk says he’s never felt better.

“I feel great. it’s really worked wonders.”

He says he’s grateful for the scientists who put some heart into their work.

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