Catheters have numerous applications in cardiac treatments. Catheters are used to diagnosis patients, deliver treatments, and implant devices. Typically guide wires, dilators, homeostasis valves, secondary catheters, and other accessories are used in combination with catheters. Catheters can be steerable and/or have prefixed shapes.
Diagnostic Catheters: Catheters are used to sense and map the electrical activity of the heart to detect arrhythmias. Monitoring catheters, like the Swan-Ganz catheter, can measure the pressure in multiple heart chambers, cardiac output, and oxygen saturation.
Therapeutic Catheters: Therapeutic catheters can be used to deliver ablation, drug, or cell therapy. Ablation treatment is applied to cardiac tissue to stop atrial and ventricular arrhythmias. Cardiac ablations are typically performed using RF (hot) or cryogenic (cold) energy. Ablation therapies that require access to the left side of the heart employ a transseptal puncture through the fossa ovalis.
Delivery Systems: Catheters are required to position various cardiac devices, such as leads, valves, and stents. Heart failure leads in particular require multiple catheters to place a lead in a target coronary vein. Catheters are also used to perform the transseptal puncture to access the left side of the heart as mentioned above.