NewYork-Presbyterian Queens First to Perform New AI Electrophysiology Procedure

Dec 13, 2021

Queens, NY

The cardiac electrophysiology team at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens has performed the first U.S. procedure using a new artificial intelligence software system, designed to improve cardiac ablation in people with advanced atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often very rapid heart rhythm (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots in the heart.

The VX1 software platform, from Volta Medical, helps providers more precisely locate and ablate the areas of the heart where abnormal heart rhythms originate, reducing the need for multiple procedures.

Seth H. Goldbarg, M.D., director of cardiac electrophysiology at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens and assistant professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, was the first to perform the procedure in August in a patient whose atrial fibrillation had returned after standard ablation (a procedure that scars tissue in your heart to block abnormal electrical signals). Dr. Goldbarg is the U.S. principal investigator of an international, multicenter trial of VX1, called Tailored AF, which is now enrolling patients to test the procedure’s effectiveness.

“The VX1 software harnesses the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve outcomes for ablation of persistent atrial fibrillation,” Dr. Goldbarg said. “The aim is to better patients’ quality of life and reduce the risk of the cardiovascular complications of atrial fibrillation with a single procedure.”

The current standard of care for cardiac ablation does not provide a uniform or easy-to-follow approach for identifying the zones of the heart muscle that cause abnormal heart rhythms, which can lead to the need for additional procedures to destroy the problematic heart tissue. Untreated or recurring atrial fibrillation can lead to the formation of blood clots, increasing the risk for stroke, heart failure, and death.

The VX1 software improves on traditional cardiac ablation by helping providers identify areas for ablation more accurately in real time, which can potentially improve the procedure’s effectiveness. The system used a large number of successful cases as its learning base and relies on a machine-learning algorithm to keep learning what makes the targeted areas important to heart rhythm abnormalities. Early data has been promising.

Some 12.1 million people in the United States are expected to have atrial fibrillation in 2030, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It typically affects people over 50 and is more common in women. Increasing age, high blood pressure, and diabetes are leading risk factors for the condition, which can cause irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, lightheadedness, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

Learn more about the Cardiac Arrhythmia Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, the only full-service electrophysiology lab in the borough.

Dr. Seth Goldbarg receives compensation in his role on the scientific advisory board for Volta Medical and the steering committee for the Tailored AF Trial. Dr. Goldbarg also owns shares in Volta Medical.

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