A novel percutaneous stabilizing sheath for minimal invasive epicardial echocardiography and ablation
Epicardial ablation and mapping are critical adjuncts to the electrophysiologist’s approach to arrhythmias; however, ablation within the epicardial space requires the avoidance of coronary arteries (CA). We aimed to evaluate the feasibility and performance of a novel-stabilizing ablation sheath housing an intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) catheter to (1) obtain Epicardial Echocardiography (EE) images, (2) visualize CAs, and (3) enable targeted delivery of radiofrequency energy away from visualized CAs.
We designed a sheath that could enclose a regular ICE catheter. This sheath has flanges and a balloon, with three interspersed windows surrounded by an electrode. In an acute canine model (N = 6), the sheath was manipulated within the pericardial space to visualize cardiac structures and CAs. Visualization of CAs was confirmed with angiography. Ablation was then performed through the window either proximal or distal to the CA.
The novel sheath was successfully deployed in six canines, with no acute procedural complications. Images with an excellent spatial resolution of cardiac structures were obtained including the right ventricular outflow tract; aortic, pulmonary, and mitral valves; and left atrial appendage. CAs were successfully visualized, and ablation from a sheath window either proximal or distal to the CA did not produce angiographic or histopathological evidence of CA damage despite evidence of acute injury to the adjacent ablated myocardium.
This novel percutaneous stabilizing sheath was able to successfully obtain high-quality EE images as well as provide a non-fluoroscopic intra-procedural means to visualize CAs. Use of this sheath enabled successful delivery of energy to avoided CA damage.
KeywordsEpicardial access Epicardial echocardiography Epicardial ablation Coronary artery
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