Using real-time ultrasound imaging during minimally invasive heart procedures is a relatively new advancement that has just recently taken a major step forward with the 3D intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) catheter developed by Philips.
Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute , part of Baptist Health, is only the second health system in Florida, and the first in South Florida, to put this technology, branded as VeriSight Pro , into use during some structural heart procedures .
The Institute has started using VeriSight Pro during left atrium appendage closure (LAAC) procedures. The left atrial appendage is a small pouch on your heart’s left atrium, where blood normally flows in and out. In patients with AFib (atrial fibrillation), an irregular heartbeat that is caused by irregular electrical signals in your heart, blood clots can form in the LAA.
Using VeriSight Pro, interventionalists use state-of-the-art 3D live image guidance to navigate procedures with ease and the sharpest images possible.
Pivotal advances in structural heart procedures have been performed at Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute  for years, led by Ramon Quesada, M.D. , medical director of Structural Heart and Complex Percutaneous Coronary Intervention at the Institute . Dr. Quesada and interventional cardiologist Bernardo Lopez-Sanabria, M.D ., have been utilizing the VeriSight system, which is the most advanced intracardiac ultrasound available.
“The technology is only going getting better,” said Dr. Quesada. “The manipulation of the catheter is very important. And It is very flexible. Once you park the catheter, most of the imaging is done from the station. So, the structural heart imagery can be processed, giving us an incredible amount of information without have to do a lot of catheter movement — and that’s a major advantage.”
Previous to VeriSight Pro, interventionalists have relied primarily on transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) imaging performed before and after procedures. The TEE, which requires general anesthesia, involves an ultrasound probe passed down the patient’s throat and into their esophagus, until it lies next to the heart. TEE testing usually extends preparation, procedure, and recovery times – while carrying a degree of risk.
In comparison, VeriSight Pro uses the same ultrasound technology, miniaturized to fit on the tip of a 3 millimeter-in-diameter catheter and is navigated to the patient’s heart via the femoral vein in the leg — the same route used to introduce other catheters during minimally-invasive cardiac surgery.
“VeriSight Pro allows our physicians to capture the very best possible live images and enable our team to deliver quality outcomes for our cardiac patients, so they can get back to their daily routines,” said Dr. Lopez-Sanabria. “I am honored to be a part of the team to be the first in South Florida to use this new technology and bring it to our community.”
Interventionalists like Drs. Quesada and Lopez-Sanabria can now digitally change the scan angle to capture views without manually repositioning the ultrasound tip. Other unique features of the ICE catheter: It provides a 90- by 90-degree, 3D field of view, and it allows physicians to view two scan planes simultaneously during procedures.
“In the past, the limitation of the intracardiac ultrasound is that we didn’t have the three-dimensional imaging, or intracardiac ultrasound,” explains Dr. Quesada. “This new device, VeriSight Pro, has changed that. There are procedures that we currently you do with TEE and anesthesia. For example, the closure of the left atrial appendage. But by using this device, the imaging is such that it allows us to do this procedure without needing to have general anesthesia. And that’s very, very important. And that’s very revolutionary. The imaging has improved dramatically.”