What’s next for AFib?
Current treatments for AFib have their limitations. Patients are often given anticoagulants or antiarrhythmic drugs, but these medications can be ineffective or not tolerated by patients. In many cases catheter ablation may be recommended as the next line of defense. Unfortunately, up to 40% of patients who have undergone ablation will suffer recurrence, necessitating a second treatment.
Ablation is a nifty image-guided therapy procedure that builds upon the older, open-heart “Maze procedure” many of us remember. Today, electrophysiology (EP) physicians advance tiny ablation catheters to the left atrium via the femoral vein, traversing the intra-atrial septum using real-time x-ray and ultrasound guidance. They then use sophisticated 3D mapping systems to define targets around the pulmonary veins which are the source of erratic electrical signals causing AFib. They then use either cryoablation (cold) or radiofrequency ablation (heat) to scar the tissue around the circumference of the pulmonary veins (hence the term pulmonary vein isolation), interrupting these erratic electrical pathways. And, remarkably, the patient leaves the interventional suite with just a small bandage at the groin.
We have innovated in the EP space in both imaging and devices for many years already, as Philips has developed cutting-edge interventional systems, software and lead management solutions. Now through our EPD Solutions business, we are bringing EP procedures to a new level, with a solution set to transform the EP field. The KODEX-EPD system uses dielectric imaging rather than x-ray, to create 3D CT-like, high-definition images of a patient’s cardiac structures in real time, simplifying navigation and improving efficiency, without using radiation. Considering that electrophysiologists and their staff perform many procedures a day, this is a big deal! To advance this breakthrough innovation, we recently announced a collaboration with Medtronic to combine their cryoablation solution with our KODEX-EPD platform.