This is the first catheter ablation procedure ever performed at Bay Medical Center. In fact, it's the first in all of northwest Florida and southern Alabama.
The breakthrough procedure is for people suffering with the heart rhythm disorder, atrial fibrillation. There are other treatment options, but Bay Medical doctors say this is safer and more effective. It's now available in this area, but so far only two patients have taken part.
"It takes about at least four hours, so we need to have about four hours of our time in order to perform the procedure. So it limits how many procedures we can offer, so selection is going to be very limited," said Bay Medical Dr. Hari Baddigam.
The new technology has been out for a few years, but only debuted at Bay Medical in September.
"You need to have an operator and also the equipment itself is expensive," said Baddigam.
In the past, x-ray machines gave doctors a two-dimensional look into the heart. Now when they insert the catheter it transmits electrical data about the patient's heart to a computer making a three-dimensional map of the heart. The easy-to-read maps help the doctor make an accurate diagnosis.
And though it's starting off small, doctors say the procedure will become more popular with time.
"Once the understanding is there and understand we have this capability then we'll find more patients that need the procedure," said Bay Medical Dr. Judson Colley.
Other options to treating atrial fibrillation include lifelong drugs and pacemakers. Catheter ablation is the least invasive of the options.