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Latest Ablation Catheter Technology to Treat AFib Now Launching at the AFib Institute

The Cardiac Electrophysiologists at the AFib Institute are excited to announce that they now have access to the latest technology in cardiac ablation treatments, with the roll out of a new state-of-the-art ‘DiamondTemp’ catheter instrument, paving the way for more modern, faster and efficient ablation procedures for AFib patients.

Along with St Andrews’ War Memorial Hospital and Queensland Cardiology Group (QCG), the Atrial Fibrillation Institute will soon have early access to the new technology from Medtronic, shared only with a few other select hospitals throughout Australia.

The Atrial Fibrillation Institute and QCG were granted early access to the technology because of the high volume of successful ablations performed every year, and the specific expertise of their renowned team of Cardiac Electrophysiologists.

radiofrequency ablation

What is a Cardiac Electrophysiologist (EP)?

Cardiac Electrophysiologists or ‘EPs’ are highly trained cardiologists who have a specialised understanding and skills in treating heart rhythm and electrical disorders of the heart, including Atrial Fibrillation.  Using advanced medical technology (like this new DiamondTemp catheter) they are able to perform highly technical procedures to influence or alter the heart’s electrical activity. Cardiac catheter ablation is a type of procedure commonly performed by EPs to treat patients’ Atrial Fibrillation symptoms.

What is a Cardiac Catheter Ablation Procedure?

A cardiac catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure performed by a Cardiac Electrophysiologist to target and treat areas of the heart that are contribu1ng to abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). There are two common techniques, Radiofrequency Ablation (using electrical energy for targeting with heat), and Cryoablation (targeting with cold).

During an ablation, small catheters (like thin wires) are passed into the heart temporarily, usually from the vein in the leg. The catheter is then guided to the specific site in heart where the abnormal electrical signals have been occurring. Once in location, the ablation catheter is able to deliver energy to specific sites in the heart, deliberately causing targeted damage in the areas which are contributing to arrhythmia. 

This very targeted ablation does not damage the surrounding heart muscle

Ablation is usually a lengthy procedure, often taking several hours, while the patient is usually under general anaesthetic for the entire time. Most people spend the night in the hospital after the procedure.

In the weeks that follow after the ablation, the damaged heart muscle heals with fibrous scar tissue. This creates a barrier to stop the abnormal electrical signals that cause atrial fibrillation, and if successful,  will reduces the patient’s symptoms from the arrhythmia.

What technology is involved in Atrial Fibrillation ablation?

Today, radiofrequency ablation performed by a specialist Cardiac Electrophysiologist is an established and safe treatment for patients with Atrial Fibrillation. It is a procedure performed in an electrophysiology laboratory – a cardiac catheter laboratory with specific equipment for the electrophysiology work. All modern, approved ablation systems allow for temperature monitoring and temperature control, advanced mapping software, and the ability to cool the catheter in between ablation deliveries. The technology used in ablation procedures continues to develop in response to the needs of the physicians performing these procedures, improving speed and efficacy.

What are the key features and benefits of the new DiamondTemp catheter technology?

The new DiamondTemp catheter system is exciting for Cardiac Electrophysiologists to use, because of its multiple advanced features that help make ablation procedures faster and more effective, including several promoted by Medtronic, the company behind the technology.

Key features include:

  • The catheter is embedded with industrial-grade diamonds, which have 200-400 times greater thermal conductivity and rapid tip cooling when compared to materials used in conventional RF ablation catheters.
    • Less irrigation is needed to cool the electrode which allows accurate tissue surface temperature readings and clear electrograms (EGMs) during ablation.
    • Clear high-resolution EGMs allows for precise ablation guidance.
new catheter technology now available at afib institute

How can AFib patients at the Institute benefit from this new technology?

Atrial Fibrillation Institute patients will have access to one of the first implementations of this new advanced system in Australia, through the Queensland Cardiology Group Cardiac Electrophysiologists with procedures at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital.

The main benefit for patients is that the DiamondTemp’s temperature-controlled, short duration ablation enables up to a 70% reduction in application time when compared with a conventional, irrigated radiofrequency ablation catheter.

According to Dr Robert Perel, a Cardiac Electrophysiologist, Cardiologist, and a Director of the Queensland Cardiovascular Group (QCG), the new system promises to be highly efficient, which in turn means a shorter time for the procedure, and a shorter time for the patient to be under a general anaesthetic.

Talk to an AFib Institute Cardiologist about your treatment options

There is no doubt that this new technology is an exciting advancement in cardiac ablation treatments, however, as is the case with most new treatment advances, it is something for each patient to discuss with their doctor for their specific circumstances.

The team of Cardiac Electrophysiologists at the Atrial Fibrillation Institute offer support throughout the entire AFib journey, beyond just initial diagnosis and treatment. They take the time to discuss treatment options, including ablation procedures if they are appropriate, with all patients and answer any questions about the technology used.

Contact the Atrial Fibrillation Institute to discuss your AFib symptoms and treatment options.