Use of MRI to Personalize Atrial Fibrillation Treatment and Avoid Stroke – Presentation by Dr. Nassir Marrouche at HRS - For Patients. By Patients - Stop Atrial Fibrillation

At Heart Rhythm Society 2010, we saw intriguing new research into personalized afib treatment and stroke prevention that was presented by Dr. Nassir Marrouche and Dr. Marcos Daccarett of the Comprehensive Arrhythmia Research and Management (CARMA) Center at the University of Utah Health System.

They have developed a way, using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), to personalize atrial fibrillation (AF) treatment by “staging”, which determines whether catheter ablation will likely stop the afib based on the degree of fibrosis in the atrium. The extent of atrial fibrosis also was found to correlate with stroke risk. The stage indicates appropriate catheter ablation treatment and whether anticoagulation is needed following the procedure. The researchers indicated that the best results come from intervening early into atrial fibrillation.

To further validate the effectiveness of the Utah AF staging system, they have initiated a multi-center clinical trial that will involve a number of centers worldwide, including Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Loyola, the University of Pennsylvania, and CHU Bordeaux.

Read more:  Personalized Atrial Fibrillation Treatment Using New Method to “Stage” AF

UPDATE 11-9-11:  Some centers listed above have removed themselves from the trial as they are focused on other clinical trials. For the latest list of centers, see DECAAF at

6 Responses to Use of MRI to Personalize Atrial Fibrillation Treatment and Avoid Stroke – Presentation by Dr. Nassir Marrouche at HRS

  • Keith says:

    I see you have not corrected this article yet even though you were informed that Cleveland, Mayo, and Northwestern never had anything to do with the study. Now thats integrity.

    • Mellanie says:


      You notified me while I was in Venice for a medical conference that 3 centers had dropped out of DECAAF, but I didn’t have time during the medical conference to go track down an old list and compare it with the new list at I’ve been on the road solid since then and have just returned.

      I work 80-100 hours a week as a VOLUNTEER to serve the afib community and I have to choose where my time is best spent to provide the most value for the afib community. I get enough queries every day from those with afib to fill a 40-hour day (7 days a week), and one person just can’t manage that. So going back to past articles on a topic and figuring out what has changed seems to provide little value in the greater scheme of things for the afib community. Thus attacking my credibility over this really seems to be a bit over the top.

      I’m sorry you are unhappy, but please find a way to focus positively because anger just makes afib worse. I could be angry that I almost died twice in the same year, but I choose to focus on how to help others avoid that. Looking beyond ourselves and our own needs provides a way to do good for the world.


    • kathie Booth says:

      Can you tell me if the Cleveland Clinic does the 3-D imaging technology to map the heart’s specific electronic signals. I’ve looked on the internet and can’t find the information.
      Also can you recommend a doctor for an ablation at the Cleveland Clinic? Thanks so much.

    • mmoss says:

      Hi Kathie,
      You may be interested in the transcript of our . They do mention imaging in the transcript, and you may be interested in contacting them to follow up at the number listed.

  • Jen Reedy says:

    Question… My husband underwent a cardioversion procedure in 2009. He had HBP before and then continues to be treated for HBP. They were able to get his heart back in proper rythm with one shock during the procedure. He has had no further issues until a few weeks ago when he went for an open MRI for injury to his right shoulder. He said when he left the MRI that his chest felt heavy, almost like a rib was out of place. This heaviness continued. Yesterday, he went to his Ortho’s surgical center to have the surgery on his arm. They turned him away and said he was in AFIB and needed a cardiac clearance before surgery would be performed. I see a lot of talk of new procedures in AFIB being tied to MRI’s but what about the actual MRI causing him to go back into AFIB?

    • mmoss says:

      Thanks for letting us know. We have not had any previous reports of MRI causing afib, and as far as we know, none have been reported in the thousands of MRIs done in the DECAAF trial of MRI for measuring afib fibrosis. But we will keep a watch out for other such reports.

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