Atrial fibrillation is a common abnormal heart rhythm, but it can be difficult to treat.
Thanks to new medical research, doctors are fighting a-fib using high tech 3d imaging.
Chiropractor Robert Kowalczuk's high blood pressure sent him to the doctor a few years ago.
"Lightheaded and that sort of thing. Laying in bed at night, I could feel my heart racing,” he said.
His doctor got right to the heart of the problem.
"She did an EKG and found that I had a-fib,” Kowalczuk said.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common abnormal heart rhythm in humans.
"The upper chamber of the heart is usually pumping. And when it fibrillates, all the cells aren't talking to one another, and the heart is just kind of wobbling, so it's not moving or transporting blood,” said John Hummel, MD of The Ohio State University - Wexner Medical Center.
Hummel says treating persistent a-fib can be a challenge.
But thanks to groundbreaking research going on at The Ohio State University - Wexner Medical Center, that challenge is being met.
"We can study the heart using very high resolution 3d dimensional approaches,” said Vadim Fedorov, PhD, of The Ohio State University - Wexner Medical Center .
Using donated human hearts, Vadim Fedorov and his team bring the atria, or upper chamber of the heart, back to life.
"We can inject special dye, which has fluorescent properties. and it also has properties to change the florescence due to the electrical waves,” Fedorov said.
That allows the six special 3-d cameras surrounding the heart to capture any changes in that electrical activity.
"We can focus the camera on different regions of the heart, not only on one surface but on another, and do it simultaneously,” Fedorov said.
Each camera records 10,000 images, allowing scientists to visualize the electrical activity within.
"Sometimes looks like a little tornado inside of our heart,” Fedorov said.
Kowalczuk's doctor was able to use that state-of-the-art mapping information to pinpoint his problem area.
He did an "ablation,” making tiny scars on his heart to stop the irregular beat.
"They go up into the heart and they kind of zap it," Kowalczuk said.
Kowalczuk says he's never felt better.
"I feel great. It's really worked wonders,” he said.
He says he's grateful for the scientists who put some heart into their work.