Skip to Content

View Additional Content In This Section

Published on May 15, 2014

Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center Is First in Oregon to Offer New FDA-Approved Heart Therapy with Direct Contact Force Technology

Latest Advancement in the Treatment of Patients with Cardiac Arrhythmias

The cardiac program at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center has set a new first in Oregon by offering the ThermoCool SmartTouch Catheter, the first catheter approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. to feature direct contact force technology for the treatment of patients with cardiac arrhythmias. This novel innovation enables doctors to accurately control the amount of contact force applied to the heart wall during radiofrequency catheter ablation procedures, thus improving outcomes.

Click here for an animation of how it works: SmartTouch.

Cardiac arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats due to disorganized electrical impulses in the heart. Untreated, they can lead to heart failure and stroke. An electrophysiologist uses a procedure called ablation to “rewire” the heart. SmartTouch gives the electrophysiologist more accuracy when performing ablations.

“Consistent and stable application of contact force against the heart wall has been demonstrated to have a significant impact on patient outcomes during catheter ablation,” said Eric Pena, MD, a cardiac electrophysiologist with Southern Oregon Cardiology.

Without this technology, Pena said doctors have to estimate the amount of force being applied to the heart wall through other indirect measures that have been shown not to be as effective.

“The SmartTouch catheter provides critical contact force information to help confirm that we are applying the intended amount of pressure with the catheter throughout the duration of the procedure so that optimal outcomes can be achieved,” he added.

During a minimally invasive catheter ablation procedure, doctors insert a therapeutic catheter through a small incision in the groin where it is then weaved up to the heart through a blood vessel. Once it reaches the heart, the catheter delivers radiofrequency energy to the heart wall to create lesions that block faulty electrical impulses that can cause heart rhythm disorders. Providing doctors with the ability to apply stable contact force during catheter ablation has been shown to improve patient outcomes as poor tissue contact may result in incomplete lesion formation that could result in the need for additional treatment, and too much contact force may result in tissue injury, which may lead to complications.

One-year results from a clinical trial that studied the safety and effectiveness of the device showed that patients experienced a 74 percent success rate after treatment with the ThermoCool SmartTouch Catheter. Importantly, data from the trial showed higher success rates the longer physicians stayed within a targeted contact force range, with one-year results demonstrating an 88 percent success rate when physicians stayed within a targeted range greater than or equal to 85 percent of the time.

Millions of Americans suffer from cardiac arrhythmias that can increases in severity and frequency if left untreated, and can lead to chronic fatigue, congestive heart failure and stroke.

Media Contact

Email: PR@asante.org

Pager: 541-858-3527

PDF Reader RequiredMedia Code of Conduct,(OAHHS)

2650 Siskiyou Blvd., Medford, OR 97504

541-789-7000