Revolutionising cardiac care

Amsterdam UMC has become the first medical centre in Europe to use MRI technology to treat cardiac arrhythmias. Usually, MRIs are used only to help medical professionals make a diagnosis in a clinical setting, but Amsterdam UMC is now using the innovative 'interventional cardiac MRI' (iCMR) technology to treat patients with cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). This allows doctors to perform cardiac ablations under real-time MRI guidance, rather than by using an X-ray machine, helping improve outcomes and provide safer, more cost-effective treatment. The procedure is also completely free of radiation for patients and physicians.

Amsterdam UMC is only the second centre in the world to purchase American firm Imricor’s Advantage-MR™ EP recorder/stimulator system, a MR conditional recording system for MRI-guided electrophysiology. “It is precisely because of the MRI scanner that you have a much better view than with the X-ray machine,” says Marco Götte, founder of the iCMR Field + Lab and a cardiologist at Amsterdam UMC. “This not only allows you to predict much better in advance who will start the treatment and who will not, but you can also determine more precisely where you want the catheter to go during the treatment. The biggest benefit of this technique is that the doctor can now see much better during the procedure whether he has treated the heart tissue sufficiently or not.”

Innovations at Amsterdam UMC

To help administer the innovative treatment, Amsterdam UMC has formed a multidisciplinary team of medical experts. “We have brought together two worlds that reinforce each other: the world of cardiac MRI and that of cardiac intervention,” Götte explains. The new treatment arrived at the same time the centre signed a long-term cooperation agreement with Amsterdam startup Pacmed to help develop new machine learning and AI applications in the hospital’s intensive care unit.The use of this innovative technology is another achievement for Amsterdam’s growing life sciences and health sector, which is home to the European Medicines Agency and more than 300 life sciences companies.

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