University Hospital Wurzburg: The World’s First Heart Patient Treated with Novel MRI Ablation Catheter

Unique technology promises to improve therapy safety and efficacy

WÜRZBURG, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Department of Internal Medicine I and the Institute of Radiology of Würzburg University Hospital have jointly announced the successful treatment of a patient with atrial flutter utilizing an advanced new ablation catheter which is uniquely able to be used with MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

The procedure was performed by the three cardiologists Prof. Dr. med. Oliver Ritter, Dr. med. Peter Nordbeck and Prof. Dr. med. Dr. rer. nat. Wolfgang Rudolf Bauer, who were involved in the research and development of this advanced technology, and the radiologist Prof. Dr. med. Meinrad Beer. In close cooperation with the Department of Medical Physics of the Institute of Radiology (Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Herbert Köstler and Dr. rer. nat. Thomas Pabst) an optimized MR-imaging procedure has been developed, which allows the visualization of the catheter with high temporal resolution inside the patient’s beating heart.

“This groundbreaking new technology represents a paradigm change in the field of electrophysiology,” commented Prof. Bauer, and Prof. Beer envisages “an important new application in clinical MR imaging”.

The standard procedure for performing an ablation involves the use of fluoroscopy. However, the visualization of anatomy is suboptimal in comparison to MRI and the radiation is potentially harmful to both the patient and the physician performing the procedure. MRI offers a much more detailed view of the anatomy, enabling better therapy delivery, and the magnetic fields involved do not put the patient and physician at risk of radiation exposure. Therefore research in developing MRI-compatible therapies is of major interest worldwide.

Today, standard ablation catheters are not MRI-compatible. The electromagnetic fields aversely react with most catheters in such a way that they cannot be effectively used or even add additional risk for the patient. The development of this novel catheter specially designed for use in this MRI-controlled ablation procedure could therefore represent a significant new opportunity for improved therapy of complex cardiac arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation.

“The ability to treat complex arrhythmias may be significantly improved due to the safety advantages offered by MRI versus conventional fluoroscopic imaging methods,” commented Prof. Ritter.

This device is the result of a combined effort amongst Würzburg University Hospital, the University of Würzburg, the Magnetic Resonance Bavaria e.V., the Erwin Hahn Institute Essen, the University of Erlangen, VascoMed and BIOTRONIK, a leading global manufacturer of cardiovascular medical devices.


Prof. Dr. med. Dr.rer.nat. Wolfgang Rudolf Bauer
Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I des Universitätsklinikums Würzburg
Schwerpunktsleiter Kardiale MRT und Klinische Elektrophysiologie
Prof. Dr. med. Oliver Ritter
Leitender Oberarzt Schwerpunkt Elektrophysiologie
Leiter Labor Molekulare Kardiologie
Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I
Universität Würzburg
Tel: 0049 (0) 931 201 39181

KEYWORDS:   Europe  Germany

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Education  University  Surgery  Health  Biotechnology  Cardiology  Hospitals  Medical Devices  Research  Science