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Sensors (Basel). 2012;12(1):1002-13. doi: 10.3390/s120101002. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

FBG sensor for contact level monitoring and prediction of perforation in cardiac ablation.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77004, USA.


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of arrhythmia, and is characterized by a disordered contractile activity of the atria (top chambers of the heart). A popular treatment for AF is radiofrequency (RF) ablation. In about 2.4% of cardiac RF ablation procedures, the catheter is accidently pushed through the heart wall due to the application of excessive force. Despite the various capabilities of currently available technology, there has yet to be any data establishing how cardiac perforation can be reliably predicted. Thus, two new FBG based sensor prototypes were developed to monitor contact levels and predict perforation. Two live sheep were utilized during the study. It was observed during operation that peaks appeared in rhythm with the heart rate whenever firm contact was made between the sensor and the endocardial wall. The magnitude of these peaks varied with pressure applied by the operator. Lastly, transmural perforation of the left atrial wall was characterized by a visible loading phase and a rapid signal drop-off correlating to perforation. A possible pre-perforation signal was observed for the epoxy-based sensor in the form of a slight signal reversal (12-26% of loading phase magnitude) prior to perforation (occurring over 8 s).


ablation catheter; cardiac ablation; contact monitoring; radiofrequency ablation; transmural perforation

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