Medical technology giant Medtronic has acquired CardioInsight Technologies, developer of the ECVUE mapping and ablation system. CardioInsight will become part of the Medtronic Atrial Fibrillation Solutions business in the Cardiac Rhythm and Heart Failure division.
Mapping and ablation systems are critical to the advancements in catheter ablation techniques and improving A-Fib patient outcomes.
During a standard catheter ablation, doctors use a special mapping catheter that has to be positioned inside the heart to map and identify A-Fib producing spots in the heart.
But the new Noninvasive Electrocardiographic Imaging (ECGI) system does not go inside the heart, but instead uses a vest-like device which a patient wears to image the inside of the heart and to pinpoint sites in the heart producing A-Fib signals.
VIDEO: See the animation of the ECVUE vest technology at the bottom of the CardioInsight page (just wait a second or two for it to load).
The ECVUE system has been in trials with more than 1,400 patients, mostly in Europe, (US clinical trials have been limited). It has also been featured in more than 120 peer reviewed journals and presentations. It’s being very carefully tested and slowly brought to market primarily by Dr. Michel Haissaguerre and the French Bordeaux Group.
What Patients Need To Know
It certainly looks like the ECVUE mapping and ablation system will be a game changer for A-Fib patients, especially for those with persistent A-Fib, usually the hardest to cure. See my 2013 AF Symposium report: Non-Invasive Electrocardiographic Imaging (ECGI).
But it’s been frustrating for patients in the US since the testing is being done at multiple centers in Europe. However, one would expect this would change soon with Medtronic buying CardioInsight.
The careful and deliberate testing and marketing approach of ECVUE contrasts with the introduction of the competing FIRM system from Topera Medical. Though FIRM was first on the market and has received great PR in many newspapers and media outlets throughout the US, clinical studies have raised performance issues
ECVUE vs. FIRM
I predict that the ECVUE mapping and ablation system will soon be predominate throughout the world.
For more about the two competing mapping and ablation systems, see my 2014 AF Symposium article: ECGI vs. FIRM: Direct Comparison, Phase/Waveform Mapping