New technology used to treat atrial fibrillation

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The Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St David’s Medical Center, in Austin, became the first in the United States to utilise the long-awaited NaviStar ThermoCool Catheter (Biosense Webster) to treat arrhythmias, since the new technology received FDA approval on 27 February, 2009.

The NaviStar ThermoCool catheter for radiofrequency ablation was used with the Niobe Magnetic Navigation System, which helps steer a catheter remotely and guide ablation to targeted areas that require treatment. The catheter uses heat to destroy abnormal heart muscle that causes atrial fibrillation. The new technology is unique because it sprays cooled saline. Physicians say it is safer and more effective than previous catheters and poses fewer risks for complications.


The NaviStar ThermoCool maintains a temperature of no more than 42 degrees Celsius while ablation energy is being delivered to the heart tissue. Previously, the temperature at the tip of the catheter reached 65 degrees Celsius, which could cause blood clots on the heart tissue.


“The NaviStar ThermoCool Catheter is revolutionary to the treatment of irregular heart rhythms,” said Dr Andrea Natale, executive director of the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St David’s Medical Center and the electrophysiologist who performed the procedure. “The fact that the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute is the first in the United States to employ this leading-edge technology is proof that we are on the forefront of treatment for heart arrhythmias.”

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