This June 16, clinicians at the University of Chicago used a novel radio-frequency needle to penetrate a patient’s atrial septum to treat atrial fibrillation. According to the U of C, it was the first human use of such a needle. Working on a 80 year old Barbara Ganschow of Palatine, IL, the cardiologists used the device, called NRG™ Transseptal Needle, from Baylis Medical Inc., a Montreal, Canada company, which kindly provided us with the accompanying illustrations.
Here’s what U of C says about the device and the procedure:
Because of scar tissue that formed after the first procedure, however, her doctors could not repeat the initial treatment, which required mechanically poking a hole in the septum with a long needle, then passing the catheter through that hole, across the atrial septum, from the right side of the heart to the left, where the problem was centered.
So her cardiologist at Good Shepherd referred her to the University of Chicago Medical Center’s Knight, MD, a specialist in difficult cases. [Bradley Knight, MD is a director of cardiac electrophysiology at the University of Chicago Medical Center –ed.]
The NRGTM Transseptal needle was designed for the increasing number of patients like Ganshow, whose previous procedures make it dangerous or impossible to cross her septum safely with the traditional needle. Instead of using uncontrolled mechanical force, this new insulated transseptal needle has a closed end that safely delivers radiofrequency energy to create a small hole in the atrial septum, allowing the needle to pass to the left atrium with increased efficacy and control.
Using this device, Knight was able to pass the catheter smoothly from the right to the left atrium so that the ablation procedure could be performed to eradicate the problem. Ganschow went home the next day and recovered quickly.
“I feel good,” she said two days after the procedure. “It gets better day by day.”
A week later, she upgraded that to “I feel fantastic. I have my life back and I’m so glad.”
NRG™ Transseptal Needle product brochure (.pdf)…
Press release: First human use of new device to make arrhythmia treatment safer…