3-D Mapping Makes Sure Girl's Heart Doesn't Skip a Beat

AUSTIN, Texas - Central Texas doctors saved a nine-year-old girl from a potentially life-threatening heart condition with the help of a new mapping device.

Sophia Dahlberg was in awe watching her heart on a screen, but it was not her first time.

"My heart doesn't feel good sometimes,” she said. “Sometimes it even feels like it's beating not where my heart is."

Sophia suffered from a type of arrhythmia where her heart beats faster than normal. It didn't bother her much at first, until it started beating too fast at school. Her parents picked her up and took her to the emergency room.

"I went in on a wheelchair and then I got on the bed and then people put ribbons on me and stickers and stuff and then they just shoved the IV in," said Sophia.

Doctors rushed in and used the EnSite Cardiac Mapping system to find the problem in Sophia's heart.

"She was a great candidate because she has a very healthy heart and a rhythm problem that is very easy to fix," said Dell Children’s Medical Center’s Dr. Daniel Shmorhun.

While heart mapping systems aren't new, the new model uses 3-D imagery. It helps doctors better pinpoint problem areas, work faster and cut down on radiation exposure. Overexposure heightens one’s risk of cancer.

"Our goal, especially if we're providing this type of therapy in young people, is to try to minimize the exposure at this stage. Hopefully, that is just the beginning of everyone else's focus in reducing radiation down the road," said Shmorhun.

A week after doctors froze part of her heart, Sophia was back on her feet.

Dell Children's Medical Center is the first pediatric hospital in Texas to use the mapping system. It was approved by the FDA last year.