One of the major limitations of currently available ablation techniques is the difficulty of visualizing electrical activity with sufficient spatial resolution to accurately determine the location of potential sources of arrhythmia. Although high-resolution optical imaging can identify high frequency sources, it has not yet been developed for routine use in patients.
The invention provides a catheter probe assembly and techniques that identify and localize on to reentrant patterns of electrical activation (termed “rotors”) in the heart. These identified reentrant patterns correspond to atrial fibrillation, ventricular fibrillation, or other heart arrhythmia conditions and reflect patterns of unusual electrical activity. More specifically, during rotor activity in the cardiac walls, a filament, defined by the pivoting line of transmembrane or extracellular potentials, is extended into the volume conductor medium surrounding the muscle and is only interrupted at a non-conducting boundary. The filament in the heart cavity is geometrically connected to rotors in the heart wall and is used as a remote guidance for the rotor. To facilitate the detection of a filament in the cavity, a catheter probe assembly has been developed using what the inventors call a “geodesic resistance” to detect these rotors (i.e., reentrant patterns of electrical activation).
The catheter probe assembly employs “geodesic resistance” to detect atmospheric discharges of electrical activity within the heart wall. The catheter probe includes a plurality of conducting poles positioned to provide a conduction path for electrical current in the heart wall. A detector is coupled to the catheter to monitor the conducting poles and identify the particular conduction paths, i.e., conducting poles, corresponding to the electrical path conduction. During rotor activation, certain parts of the heath wall will experience electrical activity and that electrical activity will vary depending on the rhythm or arrhythmia experienced by the heart, i.e., producing different filaments of reentrant activity.