Ablation of cardiac tissue is a common way of treating some types of arrhythmias of the heart. This is typically done using a tiny catheter that delivers radiofrequency (RF) energy that destroys the offending tissue. The challenge, though, is getting the tip of the device to the precise spot within the heart so that only the target area ends up ablated. St. Jude Medical just announced that its FlexAbility ablation catheter, which features a flexible tip for easier tissue targeting, has received the European CE Mark and has now been used in initial patients.
The physician is able to position the catheter tip in proximity to the cardiac tissue marked for removal and flex it to point toward the target. This helps reduce the pressure that is commonly placed on the endocardial wall when trying to point a rigid tip in a certain direction and makes avoiding unnecessary damage that much easier. The catheter also has irrigation channels for cooling the entire tip, which helps reduce the chance of unnecessary tissue damage.
More according to the announcement:
“The goal of the FlexAbility catheter was to bring the most advanced irrigated ablation solution to the electrophysiology market,” said Eric S. Fain, M.D., group president at St. Jude Medical. “Because we worked with industry thought leaders throughout the development of this technology, we are confident that its completely redesigned handle and shaft, along with its unique flexible tip, will become a leading ablation technology that addresses the broad needs of electrophysiologists across the wide spectrum of patient anatomies.”
Data that are produced by the FlexAbility ablation catheter are displayed on the EnSite™ Velocity™ System, a cardiac mapping and navigation system. Once FlexAbility catheters are inserted in the cardiac chamber the EnSite system records electrical information from the heart and displays it in a three-dimensional anatomical model. The highly detailed anatomical models, or maps, enable physicians to diagnose and guide treatment for abnormal heart rhythms.