While catheter tip/tissue contact has been shown to be an important determinant of ablative lesions in in vitro studies, the impact of contact on the outcomes of mapping and ablation in the intact heart has not been evaluated.Methods and Results
Twelve dogs underwent atrial ablation guided by the Senesi™ robotic catheter remote control system. After intracardiac ultrasound (ICE) validation of contact force measured by an in-line mechanical sensor, the relationship between contact force and individual lesion formation was established during irrigated-tipped ablation (flow 17 mL/sec) at 15 watts for 30 seconds. Minimal contact by ICE correlated with force of 4.7 ± 5.8 grams, consistent contact 9.9 ± 8.6 grams and tissue tenting produced 25.0 ± 14.0 grams. Conversely, catheter tip/tissue contact by ICE was predicted by contact force. A contact force of 10–20 and ≥20 grams generated full-thickness, larger volume ablative lesions than that created with <10 grams (98 ± 69 and 89 ± 70 mm3 vs 40 ± 42 mm3, P < 0.05). Moderate (10 grams) and marked contact (15–20 grams) application produced 1.5 X greater electroanatomic map volumes that were seen with minimal contact (5 grams) (26 ± 3 cm3 vs 33 ± 6, 39 ± 3 cm3, P < 0.05). The electroanatomic map/CT merge process was also more distorted when mapping was generated at moderate to marked contact force.Conclusion
This study shows that mapping and ablation using a robotic sheath guidance system are critically dependent on generated force. These findings suggest that ablative lesion size is optimized by the application of 10–20 grams of contact force, although mapping requires lower-force application to avoid image distortions.