Dr. Raymond Yee and a patient prepare for a procedure at LHSC.

the pace

LHSC team lowers x-ray needs during pacemaker implantation

Led by Dr. Raymond Yee, Medical Director, Arrhythmia Services, Division of Cardiology, a team of LHSC cardiologists has developed the world's first pacemaker implantation procedure using virtual reality technology, in partnership with the medical equipment firm Medtronic. A patient undergoes many x-rays during a conventional procedure to implant a pacemaker, with total x-ray time ranging from a norm of several minutes to as much as three-quarters of an hour. X-ray images are needed to guide the cardiologist during the procedure as to the position of the pacemaker. The new procedure requires only two or three x-rays. The images are fed into a computer to create a three-dimensional map of the chest. A low magnetic field is then created around the patient. Small magnets on a catheter used to deliver the pacemaker to the proper position in the heart are tracked on the computer, allowing the cardiologist to see the location of the catheter as it is being directed into the patient's chest. Both the patient and the health care team benefit from reduced exposure to x-rays as a result of this innovation.

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