Feasibility of in vivo transesophageal cardiac ablation using a phased ultrasound array

Jacob Werner, Eun Joo Park, Hotaik Lee, David Francischelli, Nadine Barrie Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Over 2.2 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation making it one of the most common arrhythmias. Cardiac ablation has shown a high rate of success in treating paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Prevailing modalities for this treatment are catheter based radio-frequency ablation or surgery. However, there is measurable morbidity and significant costs and time associated with these invasive procedures. Due to these issues, developing a method that is less invasive to treat atrial fibrillation is needed. In the development of such a device, a transesophageal ultrasound applicator for cardiac ablation was designed, constructed and evaluated. A goal of this research was to create lesions in myocardial tissue using a phased array. Based on multiple factors from array simulations, transesophageal imaging devices and throat anatomy, a phased ultrasound transducer that can be inserted into the esophagus was designed and tested. In this research, a two-dimensional sparse phased array with the aperture size of 20.7 mm × 10.2 mm with flat tapered elements as a transesophageal ultrasound applicator was fabricated and evaluated with in vivo experiments. Five pigs were anesthetized; the array was passed through the esophagus and positioned over the heart. The array was operated for 8 ∼ 15 min at 1.6 MHz with the acoustic intensity of 150 ∼ 300 W/cm2 resulting in both single and multiple lesions on atrial and ventricular myocardium. The average size of lesions was 5.1 ± 2.1 mm in diameter and 7.8 ± 2.5 mm in length. Based on the experimental results, the array delivered sufficient power to the focal point to produce ablation while not grossly damaging nearby tissue outside the target area. These results demonstrate a potential application of the ultrasound applicator to transesophageal cardiac surgery in atrial fibrillation treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)752-760
Number of pages9
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


Dive into the research topics of 'Feasibility of in vivo transesophageal cardiac ablation using a phased ultrasound array'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this