For the newest article see: 2014 AF Symposium: The New Era of Catheter Ablation Technology: Force Sensing Catheters
It’s been discovered that the force applied to heart tissue during RF ablation affects the size and safety of the lesions. Too little force results in lesions that are smaller in volume and depth and may not be effective. Too much force can result in pressure- and overheating-related complications such as steam pops, coagulum formation, or charring at the electrode. In worst cases they can lead to perforation and/or stroke.
(That’s why A-Fib patients are advised to seek out A-Fib doctors with experience who perform enough ablations a year to maintain and develop the “touch,” manual dexterity, and skill necessary to produce good ablations. Unlike other arrhythmias, A-Fib ablation requires greater technical skill, more time, and more lesions.)
New force-sensing technologies help doctors apply appropriate force. Sensors on the catheter give instantaneous feedback on the force applied at the catheter tip and even the angle of the catheter.
The Contact Force Sensor Catheter (TactiCath, Endosense, SA) uses three optical fibers to measure “microdeformation”—how much the catheter tip bends when pressed against heart tissue. The force applied changes the wavelength of light in the optical fibers. The force applied during an ablation shows up on an imaging/mapping system as either yellow, green or red. Doctors can see when they make an ablation how much force they applied to a particular spot. (Posted 2011)
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Last updated: Sunday, February 15, 2015