Surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation with off-pump, epicardial, high-intensity focused ultrasound: results of a multicenter trial.

Hôpital Cardiologique Louis Pradel and Claude Bernard University, Lyon, France.
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (Impact Factor: 3.99). 10/2005; 130(3):803-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2005.05.014
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A simplified alternative to the Cox maze procedure to treat atrial fibrillation with epicardial high-intensity focused ultrasound was evaluated clinically, and the initial clinical results were assessed at the 6-month follow-up visit.
From September 2002 through February 2004, 103 patients were prospectively enrolled in a multicenter study. Atrial fibrillation duration ranged from 6 to 240 months (mean, 44 months) and was permanent in 76 (74%) patients, paroxysmal in 22 (21%) patients, and persistent in 5 (5%) patients. All patients had concomitant operations, and ablation was performed epicardially on the beating heart before the concomitant procedure. The device automatically created a circumferential left atrial ablation around the pulmonary veins in an average of 10 minutes, and an additional mitral line was created epicardially in 35 (34%) patients with a handheld device by using the same technology.
No complications or deaths were device or procedure related. There were 4 (3.8%) early deaths and 2 late extracardiac deaths. The 6-month follow-up was complete in all survivors. At the 6-month visit, freedom from atrial fibrillation was 85% in the entire study group (80% in patients with permanent atrial fibrillation, 88% in the 35 patients who had the additional mitral line, and 100% in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation). A pacemaker was implanted in 8 patients. Only the duration and type of atrial fibrillation significantly increased the risk of recurrence.
Epicardial, off-pump, beating-heart ablation with acoustic energy is safe and cures 80% of patients with permanent atrial fibrillation associated with long-standing structural heart disease.

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    ABSTRACT: To gain better understanding of the detailed mechanisms of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablation for cardiac arrhythmias, we investigated how the cellular electrophysiological (EP) changes were correlated with temperature increases and thermal dose (cumulative equivalent minutes [CEM43]) during HIFU application using Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts. Employing voltage-sensitive dye di-4-ANEPPS, we measured the EP and temperature during HIFU using simultaneous optical mapping and infrared imaging. Both action potential amplitude (APA) and action potential duration at 50% repolarization (APD50) decreased with temperature increases, and APD50 was more thermally sensitive than APA. EP and tissue changes were irreversible when HIFU-induced temperature increased above 52.3 ± 1.4°C and log10(CEM43) above 2.16 ± 0.51 (n = 5), but were reversible when temperature was below 50.1 ± 0.8°C and log10(CEM43) below –0.9 ± 0.3 (n = 9). EP and temperature/thermal dose changes were spatially correlated with HIFU-induced tissue necrosis surrounded by a transition zone.
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