Radiofrequency Cardiac Ablation Test Apparatus

Radiofrequency Cardiac Ablation (RFCA) is a procedure used to treat abnormal heart rates. In this procedure, targeted portions of the heart are heated with radiofrequency electrical currents. If done correctly, aberrant electrical signals causing the irregular heartbeat will be eliminated, restoring the heart to its normal function. However, due to the complexity associated with heating heart tissue, patients often need to be readmitted to repeat the procedure. Edwards Lifescienes awarded BYU a grant to study these complexities. Tyler Macbeth, a graduate student at BYU studying this unique form of heat transfer, asked team RFCA to build a test apparatus to validate his research.

After becoming familiar with Macbeth’s current research, team RFCA created a design to effectively validate computational and analytical models. A fluid system circulates water through a long channel in between two large water tanks. An agar gel lines the bottom of the channel, acting as a tissue surrogate. A section of the agar is heated to begin simulating the heat transfer. Thermocouples inserted into the agar monitor the temperature and transfer it to a computer where the data is recorded. The temperature profile can then be closely observed while varying the water velocity. This design allows for the simulation of heat transfer similar to that seen during the RFCA procedure.
This apparatus, in conjunction with the research it validates, will provide preliminary insight into the complexities of RFCA. As research continues, Edwards Lifesciences will be able to use the information to increase the effectiveness of the RFCA procedure, reducing readmittance rates and increasing patient satisfaction.

School Year (term): 
2014-2015
Sponsor: 
Edwards Lifesciences Fund
Team Name: 
RFCA
Coach: 
Matt Jones
Team Members: 
Corynn Call, Preston Greenhalgh, Nick Gregory, Brad Hanks, Austin Rogers

Brigham Young University - Provo | Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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