Medtronic’s CardioInsight Electrode Vest Maps Heart’s Electrical System

Medical device developer Medtronic has commercialized a 252-electrode vest that can map the heart’s electrical system. The device could help doctors pinpoint the locations of electrical malfunctions in the heart that cause irregular heartbeats.

Doctors began using the system commercially last week after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November approved the vest, Medtronic announced.

Irregular heartbeats, or arrhythmias, are caused by electrical malfunctions of the heart. The malfunctions can bring on a range of problems, from the disconcerting sensation of a fast, irregular heartbeat, to a fatal cardiac arrest.

In order to treat an arrhythmia, doctors must pinpoint the location of the electrical malfunction. That typically involves inserting a catheter with an electrode tip into a blood vessel in the groin, and snaking it up to the heart. By touching the tip to different places on the heart doctors can create spatial and electrical maps.

But those maps are usually incomplete. The catheter can’t reach every part of the heart, leaving some areas of the map blank. The invasive procedure also comes with some risk.

Medtronic’s vest, called the CardioInsight, aims to provide a more complete map—without the snaking groin catheter. The patient puts on the 252-electrode vest and gets into a computed tomography (CT) scanner. The system then creates a three-dimensional electroanatomical map of the heart by combining the vest’s electrocardiogram (ECG) signals and the anatomical image from the CT scan.

Read the full story at IEE Spectrum.