'Basket' Catheter Helps Eliminate Ventricular Tachycardia
Jefferson cardiologists recently made history by using a multielectrode
basket catheter (EP Technologies, Sunnyvale, CA) to help map the heart for
catheter ablation in the lower ventricle of a 52-year-old man. This is the
first time a basket catheter has been used in the heart's lower chamber
to guide successful ablation.
Arnold Greenspon, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of
Cardiology at Jefferson, performed the procedure and believes that the patient's
history made him the perfect candidate.
"The patient had multiple heart attacks and bypass surgery," explains
Dr. Greenspon. "He developed frequent episodes of ventricular tachycardia,
or rapid beating of the heart, which were controlled for a time by an implanted
cardiac defibrillator and medications. Upon arriving at Jefferson, he was
experiencing incessant ventricular tachycardia with a heart rate of 130
that was no longer responding to medications. With the help of the basket
catheter, we were able to eliminate the tachycardia and restore the patient's
heart rate to a normal level."
The catheter Dr. Greenspon used carries thin collapsible wires in the shape
of a basket. These wires expand and conform to the shape of the cardiac
chamber. They carry 64 electrodes that quickly map the heart to help identify
the critical areas within the ventricular tachycardia circuit. These electrodes
send signals to a computer that doctors interpret to decide where to perform
catheter ablation, or the obliteration of damaged heart tissue.
"The basket catheter gives us a huge advantage over standard catheters,
which have a much smaller number of electrodes and make the mapping process
slow and imprecise," says Dr. Greenspon. "The basket catheter
also let us enter the lower chamber of the heart, which has always been
a difficult area to navigate. Our patient is doing extremely well. It is
encouraging to see how technology can help us do things that were once impossible."