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 hypoplastic left heart syndrome. 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
Where the beams converge, the focused ultrasound produces precise ablation (either thermal or mechanical destruction of tissue) which produces an atrial septal defect. This allows pulmonary venous blood returning to the left heart to be shunted to the right heart, which improves blood flow.
An important treatment component is ensuring adequate patency of an atrial septal defect which allows pulmonary venous blood returning to the left heart to be shunted to the right heart. Focused ultrasound is capable of precise mechanical tissue destruction through a process known as histotripsy, and a preclinical study has already demonstrated the ability of histotripsy to noninvasively create an atrial septal defect.
The primary options for treatment of hypoplastic left heart syndrome are surgical.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications – such as surgical wound healing or infection – at a lower cost for certain aspects of treatment. Focused ultrasound can also reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue, and it can be repeated, if necessary.
At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused ultrasound treatment of hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for hypoplastice left heart syndrome is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
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