Abstract

Contact force management has been proven to have a positive effect on the outcome of cardiac ablation procedures. However, no method exists that allows maintaining a constant contact force within a required and effective range. This work aims to develop and evaluate such a constant force mechanism for use in an ablation catheter. A passive constant force mechanism was designed based on a tape-loop. The tape-loop consists of two tapered springs that work in parallel. A finite element analysis was carried out to verify the behavior and performance of the design. A design based on requirements for a constant force ablation tip showed an average force of about 0.078N±0.008N over 20 mm in simulation. A scaled prototype was built and evaluated to prove the validity of the concept; this prototype provides an average force of 0.13N±0.016N over 35 mm. The mechanism allows for controlled delivery of contact force within a desired and effective range. Based on these findings it can be concluded that the approach is successful but needs to be optimized for future applications. Being able to control the delivery of contact force in a constant range may increase the effectivity of cardiac ablation procedures and improve clinical outcomes.

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