One project was selected for a Foundation research award in the first quarter of 2015. Principal Investigator Cyril Lafon, PhD, Director of Research at the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), and his team will study “Trans-Esophageal Cardiac Ablation Using High Intensity Focused Ultrasound: A New Minimally Invasive Therapy for Treating Arrhythmias.”

INSERMTo develop a focused ultrasound treatment for cardiac arrhythmia, Dr. Lafon and his team will their newly-developed focused ultrasound device and evaluate its capacity to deliver acoustic energy to the electrical circuitry of the heart through a transesophageal approach. They plan to use B-mode ultrasound imaging for anatomical guidance. The team will create a thermal lesion on the area of the heart where arrhythmia foci occur. Treatments will be monitored in real time with conventional and passive ultrafast elastography and MRI. If it proves feasible, the method of cardiac ablation could replace the currently used method of invasive insertion of a catheter into the heart.

“Cardiac targets are particularly challenging to address in a minimally-invasive treatment due to the rapid motion of the heart, said Matt Eames, PhD, the Foundation’s Director of Extramural Research. “If this study successfully demonstrates efficacy, this device would represent a major stride forward for focused ultrasound technology and could lead to near-term clinical studies.”

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