Medtronic Arctic Front Cryoablation Catheter Device

Ensuring accuracy and consistency through sound usability

With 400,000 new cases every year, atrial fibrillation is the most prevalent cardiac arrhythmia affecting over four million patients worldwide.

The Arctic Front cryoablation device delivers a refrigerant through an inflatable balloon to freeze tissue and disable unwanted electrical circuits that contribute to paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (FAB). The cryoballoon catheter is introduced into the heart’s left atrium and positioned in the opening of the pulmonary vein. Once positioned, the surgeon expands the balloon, causing occlusion, and freezes the tissue by releasing refrigerant into the balloon.

Farm worked with CryoCath Technologies, later acquired by Medtronic to develop the industrial design and human factors of the device’s delivery handle and conducted user testing to verify optimal shape and control scenarios. Comfort, size, flexibility, and the ability for the physician to steer and retract the catheter’s balloon tip easily and safely were key factors that needed to be addressed in the updated device. Farm developed a new handle shape and refined the rotational/pivoting lever, allowing the physician to steer the tip using only his/her thumb. The exact shape and pivoting force of the lever was optimized to improve positioning accuracy. For ease of retraction, Farm implemented a sliding control that stretched the balloon, thus reducing its diameter and allowing it to be retrieved into the catheter safely and without damage.

The end result was significant improvement in ease of use and safety of the device. The Arctic Front cryoablation device became Cryocath’s flagship product, prompting global medical technology leader, Medtronic, to acquire the company in 2008.

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