Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a computerised robotic catheter that could make atrial fibrillation treatment faster, cheaper and more effective.
Atrial fibrillation, a common cardiac arrhythmia, is treated by cardiac ablation, which involves inserting a catheter into the heart and creating scars to block abnormal electrical signals.
The catheters used for cardiac ablation can only move in two directions and cause significant pain. However, the robotic catheter contains smart materials which contract when electric current is applied, enabling the doctor to the catheter more freely.
The robotic catheter project has received a $1.1m grant from the National Institutes of Health for development and testing.