Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is a rapidly evolving, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue.
How it Works
The mechanism of action is to use focused ultrasound to cause thermal destruction of aberrant myocardial conducting tissue, which enables AF to be treated. This thermal destruction can be done percutaneously or at the time of open heart surgery. Additional, early research is looking at using a mechanical (non-thermal) use of focused ultrasound to destroy tissue and treat AF.
The primary options for treatment of AF include medication and surgical procedures involving a catheter placed in the groin that proceeds intravascularly to ablate areas of the heart. For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications and lower cost. Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue, and it can be repeated, if necessary.
There were several clinical trials that have been completed or were suspended for concerns about serious adverse events. At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients. Further research continues.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for AF is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
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