New Device for Treating Atrial Fibrillation Undergoing Tests

A force-sensing device for performing catheter ablation on those suffering from atrial fibrillation is being tested in a multicenter trial.

An investigational device for performing catheter ablation, a relatively new treatment for atrial fibrillation, is being tested in a multicenter trial including Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois.

Catheter ablation involves burning tissue inside the heart that is responsible for the aberrant electrical signals that make the heartbeat of atrial-fibrillation sufferers erratic. In the procedure, an electrophysiologist inserts a catheter into an artery and guides it through blood vessels to the heart. The tip of the catheter is equipped with radiofrequency energy that can heat and destroy the abnormally functioning tissue.

The device under investigation is the SmartTouch Contact Force Sensing Catheter, which gives physicians information on the exact direction of the catheter and how firmly it is pushing against the heart wall. The idea is that this capability will help physicians apply just enough force to the heart tissue to be effective without pushing so hard that healthy tissue is damaged.

In the trial, outcomes for patients who have undergone catheter ablation with the investigational device will be compared with those who have undergone the procedure with conventional catheters.