Researchers have demonstrated that a new mapping approach based on near-infrared spectroscopy can distinguish between fat and muscle tissue in the heart. This distinction is critical when using radiofrequency ablation to treat a serious heart rhythm problem known as ventricular tachycardia.
Radiofrequency ablation, the only treatment for ventricular tachycardia, involves identifying areas of the heart that are triggering abnormal signals and then heating them to the point that abnormal signals can no longer be transmitted. During the procedure, it’s important, yet challenging, to identify precisely where to deliver energy while avoiding healthy tissue.
The research team shows, for the first time, that an ablation catheter incorporating near-infrared spectroscopy mapping can successfully distinguish various tissue types in hearts donated from patients with cardiovascular disease. Ventricular tachycardia is the single largest cause of sudden death in the U.S., with an estimated 300,000 deaths per year occurring from the condition. The researchers hope that the technology can be translated to the clinic to increase the efficacy of radiofrequency ablation therapy and reduce related complications for ventricular tachycardia patients.