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Phoenix hospital’s technology used to kill now saves lives

Photo by Susan Fuchs, HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Medical Center

PHOENIX — Patients undergoing treatment for various heart conditions can be exposed to large amounts of radiation. Now technology, originally used by the military to kill people, can help save lives by reducing that radiation risk.

Many patients undergoing a cardiac procedure done with the help of a live continuous X-ray called fluoroscopy have been exposed to a lot of radiation.

“In a large study of almost 1,000 patients, the average fluoroscopy time was 22.2 minutes,” said Dr. Mark Seifert, an electrophysiologist at HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Medical Center in Phoenix. “This roughly equates to about 1,100 chest X-rays.”

But Seifert said that at John C.Lincoln, they are now using electromagnetic technology, which cuts that time, and the radiation amount, dramatically.

“Our average fluoroscopy time, for the past 30 cases, has been in the range of 90 seconds,” Seifert said.

The technology was originally used on Israeli fighter jets to help pilots shoot their weapons in the opposite direction from where their plane was headed. Now, it has been adapted to help doctors save lives.

“Our success rate is 99 percent. That’s a success rate that, even in academic centers, is unheard of,” said Seifert.

HonorHealth says that Seifert was the first doctor in Arizona to acquire and use this new technology.

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