Catheter-based Imaging Tools for Characterization of Myocardial Ablation Lesions • Cardiovascular Network of Canada — CANet


CANet Funding


Matching Funds

Key Publications


  • Conavi

view all CANet partners

Atrial Fibrillation

Imaging Catheders

More Effective Ablation Procedures

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a progressive, chronic condition that causes the heart to beat rapidly and irregularly. Patients with AF often have symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath and palpitations. AF affects approximately 350,000 Canadians.

Patients with AF are treated with medications and/or a minimally invasive procedure called catheter ablation. During an ablation procedure, a catheter is introduced into the heart from a vein in the groin or neck, and the physician selectively destroys tissue of the heart using heat, cold or radio energy. Unfortunately, ablation procedures are not always successful the first time, and 25-50% of patients require a second procedure.

We are designing imaging catheters that will help physicians perform safer and more effective ablation procedures. We will be using imaging methods, such as high-resolution ultrasound, to help physicians visualize the scar that is formed during ablation. This technology may help physicians to more effectively destroy the tissue that is causing the heart rhythm problem. The technologies we are proposing will be commercialized by Conavi Medical, a Canadian medical device company that develops imaging tools to guide cardiovascular procedures.

Project Lead

Dr. Brian Courtney PhD
Interventional Cardiologist / Scientist
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre / Sunnybrook Research Institute

Dr. Courtney develops new medical innovations, with a particular focus on imaging and therapeutic catheters for minimally invasive cardiovascular procedures. His current research projects include:

  • Intracardiac echocardiography catheters and systems that provide 3D imaging of structures in the heart, Doppler capability, 4D imaging (3D + time) and anatomical reconstruction. This technology is being developed to guide a number of procedures such as trans-septal punctures during atrial fibrillation procedures, revascularization of peripheral or central venous occlusion, valve repairs and endovascular aneurysm repair.
  • Hybrid intravascular ultrasound and optical coherence tomography imaging catheters and systems for producing high-resolution cross-sectional images of coronary arteries. This technology is being developed to assess the extent of coronary plaque, identify plaque composition, assist with stent deployment and resolve ambiguities in coronary angiograms.
    Custom medical devices for patients with unique cardiovascular anatomy who would otherwise go untreated.
  • Preclinical validation of medical devices and cardiovascular procedures in animal models.