The current method of diagnosing difficult arrhythmias is through conduction studies in an EP lab, which involves placing a catheter in the inner chambers of the heart. It is a procedure that can be risky for already compromised patients. Electromechanical Wave Imaging (EWI) is an advanced form of ultrasound that can be used to identify the exact location of an arrhythmia by mapping the heart’s sequence of electrical activity, thus, allowing cardiologists to diagnose and plan therapies non-invasively. It is a simple, quick, noninvasive technology.
EWI technology can be incorporated into existing ultrasound systems, allowing it to be relatively low cost as well as safe. The technology uses RF energy to generate electromechanical waves. These waves can be imaged and a 3D map of the myocardium indicates deformations of the heart.
Dr. Vivek Y. Reddy, M.D., director of Experimental Electrophysiology Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass., and a renowned cardiologist, commented on the challenges of mapping an arrhythmia. He said, In addition to creating and collecting the electrical information, the accuracy of the mapping portion is also very important as every arrhythmia is different. There are two primary issues: the complexity of anatomy and the complexity of arrhythmia. The area where the arrhythmia is abnormal can differ from patient to patient. This, combined with differences in everybody’s electrical systems, makes for complex, unique cases. Because of this, cath lab mapping can be challenging.
In today’s economic conditions, payors and providers are always looking for ways to lower the costs of ruling out a disease. EWI offers the promise of ruling out the need for a cath lab and determines a more precise location for the therapy. It appears everyone has a lot to gain from this emerging technology.