Sophisticated New 4-D and 5-D Imaging May Soon Guide Catheter Ablations

Feburary 18, 2010 5:41 AM CT

By: Deborah Brauser

Boston — Exciting new high-tech imaging will help clinicians perform increasingly successful ablations for atrial fibrillation, according to a presentation at the 15th Annual Boston Atrial Fibrillation Symposium.

Sophisticated 3D mapping systems are commonly used to guide catheter ablations, but 4D and even 5D image-integrated systems may be the way of the future, according to Dr. Douglas Packer (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN).

Whereas 3D refers to showing images of various areas of the heart in full dimensions, the term “4D” refers to the addition of time. In other words, it can include seeing the 3D image of the positioned catheter in real time (such as with the endoscopic balloon catheter ablation system from CardioFocus) as well as being able to “map” changes over time during the procedure. The fifth dimension refers to additional factors, such as tissue temperature measurements.

“Imaging of tissue changes, especially, may be where we need to go in the future,” said Dr. Packer. “The future of 4D and 5D isn’t just looking at mapping, but looking at these tissue changes and then archiving them as you go along.”

He reported that lately he’s been using right ventricular thermography (using an instrument to evaluate heat production) to measure tissue temperatures. “This is important. It’s not something commonly done right now, but I believe the need to perform these types of processes is forthcoming.”

“The whole area of 4D/5D mapping is expanding — but look out. It ain’t nothing like it’s going to be,” he concluded with a smile.


From Boston Atrial Fibrillation Symposium Session:  4 and 5-D Image-Integrated Mapping for Atrial Fibrillation Ablation  

Deborah Brauser is a freelance medical reporter and a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.