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New ablation catheter sensor device may reduce dependence on fluoroscopy

by John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | March 28, 2017
Cardiology Stents
A new sensor-enabled ablation catheter — just approved in an Abbot Device by the FDA to improve precision to treat atrial flutter — is now being used by cardiologists at the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute in Austin.

The FlexAbility Ablation Catheter, Sensor Enabled collects data on electrical current resistance and magnetic data in the heart to better map treatment.

"This is one of the catheters that can be used with the EnSite Precision electroanatomical mapping system, to reconstruct the anatomy of the heart, allowing navigation in its chambers without relying exclusively on fluoroscopy," Dr. Carola Gianni, research fellow at the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David's Medical Center, told HCB News.

The procedure was the first in Texas and one of the first in the country. The device was developed in conjunction with physician partnerships sponsored by St. Jude Medical and adopted by device makers, including Abbot. The device is compatible with both the EnSite Precision cardiac mapping system and MediGuide Technology.

According to St. Jude, the unique flexible tip in the device may reduce procedural risk with directed flow and tip temperature monitoring. The design is intended to reduce the likelihood of operator error.

Afib, the most common heart arrhythmia, affects more than three million Americans. Untreated, Afib can cause a stroke.

Catheter ablation treatment to treat heart arrhythmia relies on several long, flexible tubes with wires inserted in the heart that collect diagnostic information on the heart's electrical performance. This helps cardiologists map out a treatment plan. Ablation catheters then apply radiofrequency energy to create scar tissue, to help reconfigure a normal heartbeat.

"This is another tool in our arsenal to help in managing patients with atrial fibrillation. It is important to keep advancing technology, and every single step toward this direction is a welcome change," said Gianni.

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