A routine procedure used to treat cancer patients has become a groundbreaking tool to save a heart patient’s life.
Radiation is commonly used to shrink tumors, but in a procedure only done in a few centers around the world, doctors are finding out it can also be used to treat an irregular heartbeat.
Just months ago, Jose Garcia was critically ill. The 77-year old’s irregular heartbeat kept him in and out of the hospital.
“He was too sick to undergo any type of invasive intervention.” Said Dr. Mario Pascual, Electrophysiologist for Baptist Health’s Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute.
This illustration shows the moment the radiation was shot into Garcia’s heart. The procedure only took 20 minutes, but planning and coordinating took weeks.
“An electrophysiologist is involved, a general cardiologist, a cardiac imaging specialist, an advanced heart failure specialist. And then, you have to collaborate with a radiation oncologist on top of that.” Dr. Pascual said.
Weeks after his treatment, Garcia can wheel his wife of 52 years in with him to follow-up visits. He is looking forward to the future with his three kids and four beautiful grandchildren.
“It’s a big difference between the past and a treatment that is a half-hour. It’s unbelievable.” Garcia said.