A Path to Optimizing AFib Treatment
Physician-guided, catheter-based disease treatment is a growing and accepted standard for procedures such as Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) ablation, endovascular coiling, transurethral prostatectomy, and endoscopic exploration. However, these procedures come with significant risk including minimal effectiveness requiring repeat procedures, vascular injury, organ perforation, blood clotting, septic infections, stroke, and even death. Key to the effectiveness of physician-guided catheter procedures is the ability of the physician to accurately position the catheter tool “on-site” where it is needed while minimizing invasiveness to the patient’s system and optimizing the results for a positive patient outcome. In procedures where the distance from the catheter insertion point to the treatment site is short, the channel is relatively large and the target area can be easily visualized, these risks are significantly low, such as the resection of the prostate gland. When any of these parameters change, the risk increases exponentially.
One of the areas where this risk is of large concern is the treatment for AFib. To treat AFib using catheter ablation, a catheter must be guided from an insertion point in the groin or neck of a patient, through the arterial network and into a chamber of a beating heart where it must then precisely “ablate” or destroy portions of tissue in order to lessen or eliminate the recurrence of AFib. Currently, this procedure relies solely on the skilled hand of the physician manually navigating the catheter using a two-dimensional imaging visualization aid such as an X-ray or fluoroscopy. The risk potential is obvious when the environment the physician must traverse is not only three-dimensional but a moving target as well, as is the case of placing a catheter in a specific chamber of a living, beating heart and then manipulating the catheter to precisely ablate multiple sections of the heart tissue in order to correct cardiac arrhythmia.
It is this area that was foundational to the vision of developing CGCI when through a personal situation Neuro-Kinesis’ Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer Josh Shachar pondered the possibility of creating a method to give a physician a tool that would allow them to be in harmony within the environment with which they are working instead of being a third-party observer outside of the realm in which they are trying to affect a cure. In short, was there a way to allow a surgeon to be as virtually “inside” the area of operation as they are physically “inside” an operating room? A way to allow the doctor to work in tandem with the three-dimensional living body in order to more effectively treat his patient.
Looking to his decades of experience in developing guidance systems for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) where he had been behind the innovation of many of our nation’s weapon system guidance technologies, Josh Shachar realized that adapting a solution to the issue of catheter guidance was simply a matter of scale and environment. He assembled his engineering team and they quickly settled on the concept of using opposing magnetic force fields as the basis for controlling an object’s position in three-dimensional space. With the filing of the first patent for their developing technology titled “Method and Apparatus for Catheter Guidance Control and Imaging”, the CGCI platform entered into developed to create the first robotic-controlled platform using magnetic force for the remote navigation to guide surgical instruments within a patient’s body.