Contact forces during hybrid atrial fibrillation ablation: an in vitro evaluation

Pieter W. J. Lozekoot, Monique M. J. de Jong, Sandro Gelsomino*, Orlando Parise, Francesco Matteucci, Fabiana Luca, N. Kumar, Jan Nijs, Jens Czapla, Paul B Kwant, Daniele Bani, Gian Franco Gensini, Laurent Pison, Harry J. G. M. Crijns, Jos G. Maessen, Mark La Meir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose Data on epicardial contact force efficacy in dual epicardial-endocardial atrial fibrillation ablation procedures are lacking. We present an in vitro study on the importance of epicardial and endocardial contact forces during this procedure. Methods The in vitro setup consists of two separate chambers, mimicking the endocardial and epicardial sides of the heart. A circuit, including a pump and a heat exchanger, circulates porcine blood through the endocardial chamber. A septum, with a cut out, allows the placement of a magnetically fixed tissue holder, securing porcine atrial tissue, in the middle of both chambers. Two trocars provide access to the epicardium and endocardium. Force transducers mounted on both catheter holders allow real-time contact force monitoring, while a railing system allows controlled contact force adjustment. We histologically assessed different combinations of epiendocardial radiofrequency ablation contact forces using porcine atria, evaluating the ablation's diameters, area, and volume. Results An epicardial ablation with forces of 100 or 300 g, followed by an endocardial ablation with a force of 20 g did not achieve transmurality. Increasing endocardial forces to 30 and 40 g combined with an epicardial force ranging from 100 to 300 and 500 g led to transmurality with significant increases in lesion's diameters, area, and volumes. Conclusions Increased endocardial contact forces led to larger ablation lesions regardless of standard epicardial pressure forces. In order to gain transmurality in a model of a combined epicardial-endocardial procedure, a minimal endocardial force of 30 g combined with an epicardial force of 100 g is necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-197
JournalJournal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Catheter ablation
  • Atrial arrhythmias
  • Computer model simulation
  • Contact force

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