Design Considerations for Electrophysiology (EP) Devices
Due to the prevalence of heart disease in Americans, and throughout the world, there is an ever-growing demand for electrophysiology (EP) devices. Different EP devices provide critical information about the electrical activity of the heart, which can be used to diagnose and treat various heart conditions. By measuring the electrical signals that the heart produces, EP devices can identify abnormal heart rhythms, such as arrhythmias, and help guide interventions that can correct these irregularities.
With that in mind, there are several considerations that need to be contemplated when designing and producing EP devices. To begin with, you need to consider the needs of both the patient and the electrophysiologist.
Design with Patient in Mind
As heart disease-related procedures tend to be quite expensive, there is a need to reduce the procedural cost as much as possible.
The simplest way to achieve this is to decrease the amount of time it takes to complete heart-related procedures. Specifically, arrhythmia mapping procedures, which can take several hours, resulting in thousands of dollars of operating costs.
Shorten Arrhythmia Procedures
Cutting down arrhythmia mapping time can be achieved by increasing the number of sensing electrodes in the mapping catheter. Arrhythmia mapping involves locating areas of the heart that are causing abnormal heart rhythms. This process typically involves moving the mapping catheter to different locations within the heart to record the electrical signals at each location. The more sensing electrodes a mapping catheter has, the more it can collect data from a wider range to help precisely locate the source of irregularity.
Further, with an increased amount of electrodes, the mapping catheter can also record more electrical signals simultaneously, providing a more comprehensive view of the heart’s electrical activity. This can also help to reduce the need for repeat mapping procedures, which can be time-consuming and uncomfortable for the patient.
Reduce the Number of Necessary Devices
Another way to decrease the operational costs of a procedure could be to reduce the costs of the product used in the procedure itself. This can be exemplified by lessening the number of cables used in the procedure.
Instead of having two cables, one that connects the mapping catheter to the console and another that connects the ablation catheter to the generator, a single cable that’s versatile enough to be able to be used and interface with both catheters and eliminate one very expensive cable during the procedure will be beneficial to both the electrophysiologist and the patient.
Design With Electrophysiologists in Mind
Having reviewed some design considerations which can help reduce electrophysiology operational costs, EP devices should also be designed based on the needs of electrophysiologists. While the specific needs of electrophysiologists will vary, there is a consistent need for their devices to be growing in intelligence. In other words, electrophysiology devices need to incorporate increasingly advanced sensors. More advanced sensors can be used during the ablation process, ensuring the ablation electrodes have adequate contact with heart tissue to perform a more accurate and effective ablation.
There is also a need for position sensing so the electrophysiologist knows where the distal end of the catheter is located within the patient at all times. The catheter should be easy to connect and easy to align but also require some force to insert and remove it from the console. It needs to be able to lock in place, to ensure that once inserted into the catheter handle or under the console it will not come out inadvertently.
Design with the Future in Mind
Besides the needs of the patient and the electrophysiologist, there are also several needs of electrophysiology device manufacturers. First and foremost, EP device manufacturers need their electrophysiology portfolio to be futuristic and forward-thinking, meaning the device has the ability to adapt to new technologies a year or two down the line.
For instance, let’s say that a state-of-the-art mapping catheter today has 64 sensing electrodes, but what is going to be state-of-the-art two years from now might have 128 sensing electrodes, and in five years maybe 200, etc. It is important to ensure that the receptacle inside the capital item or console has enough capacity and versatility to adapt to future developments.
If the capital item or console is developed to only handle a certain number of sensors or electrodes, every few years the device will need to be completely redeveloped.
To thrive in a competitive market, electrophysiology device manufacturers must design adaptable, future-proofed hardware. This design should accommodate future technological advances, saving the costs and effort of regular redesigns and redevelopments, while enhancing patient care.
To summarize, the rapidly evolving field of electrophysiology demands devices that are not only efficient and cost-effective but also cater to the specific needs of both electrophysiologists and patients. As we move towards a future with increasingly advanced technology, it is essential for electrophysiology devices to incorporate cutting-edge sensors, enhanced position sensing, and ensure ease of use for medical professionals.
Moreover, manufacturers must adopt a forward-thinking approach when designing their electrophysiology portfolio, taking into account the potential advancements in technology in the coming years. By creating devices with the capacity and versatility to adapt to future developments, manufacturers can ensure that their products remain relevant and useful for years to come.
Ultimately, by focusing on these key design considerations, the electrophysiology industry can continue to make strides in improving patient outcomes, streamlining procedures, and reducing overall operational costs. Embracing innovation and anticipating future needs will not only benefit healthcare providers and device manufacturers but will also contribute to the betterment of patient care and the advancement of medical science.
At ATL Technology, we've incorporated these considerations into our Ultra High-Density Connector for Electrophysiology Devices.
Connect with us below to learn how our UHD Connector can help accelerate, and future-proof your next-generation Electrophysiology Device.