Ultrasonic Ablation Fights Atrial Fibrillation

Ultrasonic Transducers from PI Ceramic Are Used by Helium Medical for Award-Winning Treatment

What Exactly Is Atrial Fibrillation?

Approximately 46 million patients worldwide suffer from atrial fibrillation – the most common cardiac arrhythmia, which can lead to life-threatening complications. During atrial fibrillation, the atria of the heart beat very fast and irregularly so the steady pumping motion of the heart is disturbed. This can lead to an accumulation of blood in the heart and due to the resulting reduced flow rate, blood clots can form. If such a blood clot wanders from the heart to another organ it can cause a life-threatening stroke. Atrial fibrillation can be treated with medication or a catheter ablation procedure.

This Is How Catheter Ablation Works

The cause for atrial fibrillation is an impaired saltatory conduction at the inner walls of the heart which leads to an irregular heartbeat. In the minimally invasive therapy of this clinical condition, a catheter is used to specifically create lines of scarred tissue at the opening of the pulmonary veins into the atrium. These lesions work as mechanical barriers: They stop the disruptive electrical impulses from spreading and, therefore, ensure that the heart can beat regularly again.

Noncontact Ablation Using Ultrasound Created by Piezo Components

Healium Medical has now developed a noncontact ablation procedure for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. The transcatheter ultrasonic technology ensures a rapid creation of lesions in the heart. For this purpose, tiny piezo elements generate ultrasonic waves, whereby the mechanical energy that they absorb leads to heating and, therefore, coagulation of specifically targeted tissue areas.

The real-time monitoring of the treatment is particularly noteworthy. In this way, the lesions can be created as seamless lines – an important criterion which is the basis for the success of the therapy. The technology developed by Healium Medical not only shortens the treatment time and improves its quality but it also offers a noncontact procedure. This technology, which is generated by ultrasound only, leads to a reduced risk of injury during treatment. With this, the solution from the Israeli start-up solves the greatest limitations of currently used catheter ablation technologies.

Miniaturized Piezo Elements for Minimally Invasive Applications

>> Miniaturized piezo elements from PI Ceramic are not just used by Healium Medical for medical procedures. Apart from applications such as catheter ablation, the mini components can be used for other minimally invasive treatment procedures, e.g. in intravascular lithotripsy or the controlled release of medication. Tiniest disks, plates, tubes, and also any other shapes in sizes of just a few millimeters offer a high effective force in a minimal installation space.

With our profound know-how in test and packaging, we also support customers in the assembly, gluing, or contacting of small piezos up to the assembly of entire transducers.

ICI 2019 Innovation Award for New Treatment Method

Healium Medical received the ICI 2019 Innovation Award for the new ultrasonic ablation procedure for the treatment of atrial fibrillation at the first International Meeting for Innovation in Cardiovascular Interventions (ICI) in Tel Avis, Israel. Ran Sela, CEO and cofounder of the start-up company, accepted the prize money worth 100,000 USD sponsored by the Jon DeHaan Foundation at the ICI 2019 Meeting.

The start-up, founded in 2017 and based in Yokneam, Israel, has an extensive in-house research and development laboratory, a multidisciplinary team of physicists, engineers, and physicians, as well as preclinical data confirming the feasibility of its proprietary technology.

About this Author

Dr. Annemarie Oesterle

Segment Marketing Manager Medical Technology, PI Ceramic GmbH

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