From a press release by St. Jude Medical:
ST. PAUL, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dec. 21, 2004–St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ) announced today the completion of the first U.S. clinical case using its proprietary High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) surgical ablation technology. This innovative system allows an ablation device to be placed on the outside of a beating heart and deliver HIFU energy across the wall of the heart to create very precise and complete lines of cardiac tissue ablation.
The first case was performed by Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Co-Director, Northwestern Cardiovascular Institute, Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a widespread cardiac rhythm disorder in which the upper chambers of the heart do not beat effectively because of abnormal electrical activity. AF results in reduced cardiac output, exacerbates heart failure and can lead to stroke or other neurological problems. Atrial fibrillation currently affects over 6 million people worldwide.
The Cox-Maze procedure is a surgical technique in which maze-like patterns are cut in the left atrial tissue, blocking the pathways which propagate AF. These techniques are nearly 90% effective, but highly invasive for patients and very technically challenging. The HIFU technology allows physicians to safely and effectively create an “Simplified” Maze lesion pattern through a less invasive approach, without placing patients on a cardiopulmonary bypass system and arresting their heart.
More at St.Jude Medical.