Ablation of College Athlete's Heart Arrhythmia

Subject: A 21-year-old Western Oregon University student attending school on a track-and-field scholarship presented with persistent arrhythmia (120 bpm, shortness of breath) that interfered with his athletic performance and could not be controlled by medication.

Diagnosis: Heart tissue looked normal upon initial examination. Electrophysiologist Ramakota Reddy, MD, of Oregon Cardiology used the St. Jude EnSite System to create a 3-D electroanatomical map of the young man’s heart. He identified a pea-sized focal atrial tachycardia in the right atrium that was firing more actively than the rest of the heart (red area in illustration). 

Treatment: Dr. Reddy opted to perform a catheter ablation, a non-surgical procedure that uses a catheter inserted into the heart to direct energy to the affected area of the heart muscle. The energy disables the pathway of the abnormal rhythm and allows the heart to beat normally.

Outcome: The student resumed normal activity, including competitive sports, with no additional problems.