Austin, TX — Physicians with the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute (TCAI) at St. David’s Medical Center are among the first in the world to participate in a clinical trial to evaluate a new intra-cardiac echocardiography catheter. Andrea Natale, M.D., F.H.R.S., F.A.C.C., F.E.S.C., cardiac electrophysiologist and executive medical director of TCAI, and Amin Al-Ahmad, M.D., cardiac electrophysiologist at TCAI, recently participated in the first-in-human trials of this catheter in Europe, in preparation for conducting in-human trials at St. David’s Medical Center in Central Texas next year.

What distinguishes this catheter—the NuVision™ ICE Catheter—from previous versions is 4D imaging, which is designed to better guide complex cardiac procedures, improve outcomes and reduce procedure times, all of which are beneficial to the patient.

“As ablation technologies continue to evolve, and procedures become increasingly complex, there is a growing need for advanced intracardiac imaging beyond the capabilities of 3D imaging,” Dr. Natale said. “4D imaging provides a high-resolution view of the heart structure during a complex intervention to lessen the likelihood of complications during ablation procedures. We are committed to providing leading-edge treatment to our patients, and we look forward to bringing this important advancement to St. David’s Medical Center.”

This catheter offers all of the imaging capabilities of previous imaging platforms with the added spatial benefits of real-time intracardiac 3D guidance, giving physicians an advanced view of the heart in motion during complex structural heart surgeries, appendage closures and cardiac ablation procedures. This enhanced visualization allows physicians to better assess complex cardiac structures with the potential to improve patient outcomes while reducing procedure times and fluoroscopy (X-ray) exposure. It also gives physicians better control of the image generation by allowing them to guide the catheter throughout the procedure.

“Through the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David’s Medical Center, we are committed to advancing the level of care for patients with cardiac conditions,” Dr. Al-Ahmad said. “Having the ability to view direct images of a procedure in real time allows us to more safely and effectively treat patients.”

4D imaging also allows doctors to perform structural heart procedures under conscious sedation, which is associated with a lower risk of complications for patients.

St. David’s Medical Center

St. David’s Medical Center, which is part of St. David’s HealthCare, is a full-service medical center offering comprehensive medical care at three locations—St. David’s Medical Center, Heart Hospital of Austin and St. David’s Georgetown Hospital.

Located in Central Austin, St. David’s Medical Center includes a 426-bed acute care hospital and a 64-bed rehabilitation hospital providing comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care. It is home to the internationally renowned Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute and St. David’s Neuroscience & Spine Institute. The hospital provides a complete range of women’s services, including its acclaimed maternity unit, maternal-fetal medicine, a high-risk maternal and neonatal transport team, the region’s largest Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and  The Breast Center; complex surgical services; a comprehensive Bariatric Surgery Center; and a 24-hour emergency department.

Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute

Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute (TCAI) at St. David’s Medical Center is one of the world’s preeminent centers dedicated to the latest treatment advances for correcting abnormal heart rhythms such as Atrial Fibrillation (A Fib). The center is led by Executive Medical Director Andrea Natale, M.D., a world-renowned expert in the field. Natale is at the forefront of advancing treatment for A Fib, leading numerous clinical trials and participating in the development of new technologies and procedures.