Researchers at Stanford University's Biodesign Cardiovascular Innovation Team have developed a medical device and method which can prevent esophageal damage during atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation. The device provides an easy-to-use, disposable solution that takes into account the nature and the manner in which AF ablation is performed. This invention has the potential to prevent esophageal complications in patients undergoing AF ablation, regardless of the ablation energy source and application method.
The device consists of a probe which is inserted into the esophagus and positioned behind the left atrium. The probe tip is then deformed such that the esophagus is maneuvered away from the left atrium. If necessary, suction is applied through the probe tip to capture the esophagus. Chilled saline may also be circulated through the probe tip to maintain a safe esophageal temperature. Temperature sensing may also be included in the probe tip. The device may be configured with suction, cooling, temperature sensing, and maneuverability in various combinations to best prevent esophageal damage during AF ablation. Stage of Research:
A simple prototype was developed and ex vivo experiments were performed on a pig esophagus to determine the efficacy of the invention for manipulating esophageal tissue.