Magnetic Navigation

UCSF Medical Center is one of the few medical centers in California to offer an advanced technology, called magnetic navigation, to perform radiofrequency catheter ablations, a technique pioneered at UCSF to treat arrhythmia.

The technology enables doctors to correct arrhythmias with increased precision and fewer complications.


In traditional interventional cardiac procedures, doctors manually insert and maneuver instruments, such as catheters and guidewires. The magnetic navigation system is computer-controlled and uses magnets to direct instruments through veins into the heart and coronary arteries.

Doctors digitally control movement of the instruments from a control room outside the operating suite, using monitors and point-and-click navigation tools and other instruments. Doctors move catheters remotely using a 3D model of the patient's heart.


The benefits of magnetic navigation include:

  • Approach is uicker and with few complications
  • Magnets move devices more precisely, as little as 1 millimeter at a time and 360 degrees in any direction
  • Reduced radiation exposue to both doctor and patient


Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Electrophysiology & Arrhythmia Service
400 Parnassus Ave., Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-2554
Fax: (415) 353-2528

Our Experts

Jeffrey Olgin
Dr. Jeffrey Olgin,
cardiologist and electrophysiologist