Baptist Health is first in North Florida to participate in new clinical study to advance the treatment of atrial fibrillation

The physician-led study is trailing the use of AI mapping technology during procedures on patients with persistent Afib.

Jacksonville, FL.

Baptist Health has once again reaffirmed its position as a regional leader in innovative cardiac treatments by participating in a new clinical study to measure the impact of using AI-powered mapping technology during procedures to treat patients with persistent atrial fibrillation (Afib).

Cardiac electrophysiologist and medical director of Baptist Health’s electrophysiology program, Matthew McKillop, MD, recently became the first physician in North Florida and the fourth in the world to perform a cardiac ablation procedure using the STAR Apollo™ Mapping System.

The study focuses on patients who continue to experience Afib despite already having undergone an ablation, which involves scarring heart tissue to block the electrical signals causing the heart to beat irregularly.

During the recent procedure, Dr. McKillop used the AI-powered mapping system to help pinpoint the areas causing the patient’s atrial fibrillation. Computer algorithms summarized thousands of data points to identify areas that were potential drivers for Afib so they could be targeted for treatment. The hope is that this mapping technology will bring an increased level of precision to ablation procedures, allowing for more discrete, high-value areas to be targeted and treated using a limited amount of ablation. The procedure was performed at the new Heart Rhythm Center at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville.

“We’re excited to be the first in North Florida to trial the use of this cutting-edge technology in the treatment of persistent atrial fibrillation,” said Dr. McKillop. “Our participation in clinical studies like this allow us to bring innovative treatment options to those in our community.” Dr. McKillop is collaborating with four other U.S. centers on this physician-led study of the mapping system, which is being sponsored by Dhanunjaya “DJ” Lakkireddy, MD, from the Kansas City Heart Rhythm Institute at HCA Midwest Health.

Afib is the most common form of heart rhythm disorder, with experts estimating that around 12.1 million adults in the U.S. will have the condition by 2030 . It occurs when the upper and lower chambers of the heart are not coordinated, causing the heart to beat too slowly, too quickly or irregularly. The disorder increases one’s risk of having blood clots, strokes, heart failure and other heart-related complications.