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Einstein Institute for Heart and Vascular Health is the first in the Philadelphia region to offer the recently FDA-approved ThermoCool® SmartTouch® Catheter when performing catheter ablation to treat abnormal heart rhythms, known as arrhythmias. This is the first therapy available in the United States that enables electrophysiologists to measure the amount of contact force or pressure used when applying radiofrequency energy to the heart wall during catheter ablation procedures. During a catheter ablation, the radiofrequency energy forms lesions that destroy faulty electrical impulses or circuits which can trigger a variety of arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation (disorganized, rapid heart rhythm that occur in the atria - upper chambers of the heart), atrial flutter (abnormal, rapid regular heart rhythm that comes primarily from the right atrium), supraventricular tachycardia (rapid, regular heart rhythm of the upper chambers of the heart where electrical signals travel from the upper chambers to the lower chambers of the heart), and ventricular tachycardia (rapid heart rhythm emanating from the ventricles and caused by scarring in the ventricles). These arrhythmias can have a significant negative effect on a person’s health and quality of life and are responsible for a large number of hospital admissions, strokes, heart attacks, and deaths in the United States each year. Catheter ablation has become a mainstay in the treatment of dangerous arrhythmias and can often be curative. “This new technology enables doctors to control the amount of pressure applied to the beating heart wall and also to control the angle at which the force is being applied to the tissue,” says Allan Greenspan, MD, FACC, Director of Electrophysiology at the Einstein Institute for Heart and Vascular Health. “It’s a significant advance that enhances patient safety and outcomes by ensuring proper catheter tissue contact.” The new catheter is used with imaging technology that utilizes electromagnetic technology to create real-time three-dimensional maps of a patient’s cardiac structure to help doctors pinpoint the precise location and orientation of a cardiac arrhythmia in the heart during diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. It is often likened to a GPS system for the heart. “There have been tremendous advancements in ablation and the treatment of arrhythmias in general in the last few years,” says Sumeet Mainigi, MD, FACC, FHRS, Associate Director of Electrophysiology at Einstein Heart and Vascular Institute. “This new technology represents an enormous leap forward. We expect it to help us perform ablation procedures more effectively in less time, and with fewer complications.” The safety and effectiveness of the ThermoCool SmartTouch Catheter was evaluated as part of a prospective, multicenter study called the SMART-AF Trial in patients with atrial fibrillation that could not be controlled by standard medical therapy. Atrial fibrillation, also known as AFIB, is the most common arrhythmia in the United States and a large cause of stroke. Data at one year follow-up from the trial showed that patients who had their ablation performed with the new catheter had a significantly higher success rate for long-term control of AFIB than those who had the ablation performed with the standard equipment.