Catheter ablation has become an important modality in the treatment of most cardiac arrhythmias. In recent years there has been significant development of new ablation energies and technologies in an attempt to improve clinical outcomes and decrease disease burden. Ablation failure is often associated with inadequate lesion formation, and catheter-to-myocardial contact force (CF) and catheter stability are two of the parameters required to produce effective lesions during radiofrequency energy application. Recently, CF sensing catheters and tagging modules have been developed to give operators realtime data on catheter force and stability. This review describes the novel ThermoCool® SmartTouch® Catheter (Biosense Webster Inc., CA, US) and VisiTag™ Module (Biosense Webster Inc., CA, US) software, and discusses the results of several studies on CF and catheter stability during mapping and ablation of the left atrium and ventricle from our electrophysiology laboratory. We assess the short- and longer-term outcomes during mapping and ablation with and without CF data, as well as the use of the VisiTag Module™ software, which allows the evaluation of multiple parameters of lesion formation, then integrates and displays this as automatic tags in a relatively objective way.
Arrhythmia & Electrophysiology Review 2013;3(1):44-7