The unlikely pairing of a cardiologist and radiation oncologist led to a game changer in the treatment of ventricular tachycardia, an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
When Phillip Cuculich, MD, a heart rhythm specialist, was looking for a less invasive and more accurate way to treat scarring on the heart that leads to ventricular tachycardia, he knew that a revolution was taking place in radiation therapies for cancer, the specialty of his colleague Clifford Robinson, MD.
Could these precise radiation beams be focused on the heart to eliminate this harmful scarring?
This question began a journey that led to the development a new technique, called noninvasive cardiac radiosurgery, that allows physicians to precisely target radiation therapy to a patient's heart during an appointment that lasts less than ten minutes.
Though the treatment is still in clinical trials, it shows promise to revolutionize the way we treat fatal heart conditions and offers hope to patients with no other treatment options.