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Boston Doctors Use 'Medical GPS' To Help In Heart Surgeries

BOSTON (CBS) - GPS helps drivers on the roads, and now, it's guiding the way in a Boston operating room.

WBZ-TV was there for a first-of-its-kind procedure that could make a common surgery a whole lot safer.

"We did it today for the first time ever, it's never been done before," Dr. Moussa Mansour said.

Doctors at Mass General Hospital are using cutting edge technology to treat a common heart condition. More than 3.5 million people suffer from Atrial Fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, and decreased stamina.

"In addition to these symptoms, A-Fib can cause two major conditions," said Dr. Mansour. "One is a stroke and the other is congestive heart failure.

Typically surgery to treat the condition means exposing patients to constant X-rays during the procedure and that means radiation exposure. Using a new system called Mediguide, Dr. Mansour is combining X-ray imaging with GPS technology to guide a catheter up through the leg and into the heart to repair the damaged tissue.

Dr. Mansour says, "The hope is with this new system we will be able to get the benefit of imaging with minimum risk of radiation exposure."

Overexposure to radiation can lead to cancer. This new procedure has been shown to cut the use of X-ray by up to as much as 90 percent.

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