- Last Updated: August 9, 2018
Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, 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. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling AF to be treated without surgery.
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 is noninvasive, so it does not carry the risks associated with invasive procedures.
- Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue.
- 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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Reyes G, Ruyra X, Valderrama F, Jimenez A, Duran D, Perez E, Daroca T, Moya J, Ramirez U, Aldamiz G. High intensity focused ultrasound ablation for atrial fibrillation: results from the National Spanish Registry. Minerva Cardioangiol. 2016 Oct;64(5):501-6.
She WH, Cheung TT, Jenkins CR, Irwin MG. Clinical applications of high-intensity focused ultrasound. Hong Kong Med J. 2016 Aug;22(4):382-92. doi: 10.12809/hkmj154755.
Garcia R, Sacher F, Oses P, Derval N, Barandon L, Denis A, Hocini M, Roques X, Haïssaguerre M, Labrousse L, Jaïs P. Electrophysiological study 6 months after Epicor™ high-intensity focused ultrasound atrial fibrillation ablation. J Interv Card Electrophysiol. 2014 Dec;41(3):245-51. doi: 10.1007/s10840-014-9949-0.
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