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Boston Scientific, Medtronic approved for new atrial fibrillation products

One day before Boston Scientific announced the news about its Blazer catheter, Medtronic said it landed FDA approval for a “mapping” catheter.

Boston Scientific Corp. and Medtronic Inc. both announced regulatory approvals for new products that will expand their atrial fibrillation treatment offerings.

Natick, Mass.-based Boston Scientific won CE Mark approval for its Blazer open-irrigated, a radiofrequency ablation (RFA) catheter for treating atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias.

The new open-irrigated catheter integrates the company’s Blazer catheter platform with its “Total Tip Cooling” design, which is intended to consistently cool the tip electrode during RFA energy delivery, according to the company. Boston Scientific also announced the first use of the product in Europe and plans to launch the device this quarter in certain European Union countries.

Just one day before BSX broke the news about its Blazer catheter, Medtronic said it landed FDA approval for a “mapping” catheter designed for assessment of pulmonary vein isolation during paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) treatments.

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Medtronic’s device, named Achieve, is an intra-cardiac electrophysiology diagnostic catheter, and is approved only for use with the company’s Arctic Front cardiac cryoablation system.

The Fridley-based company’s Arctic Front is the only cryoballoon ablation treatment that is approved in the United States for paroxysmal AF, an irregular heartbeat that affects people only intermittently and generally stops in less than seven days.

The Achieve “enables physicians to engage in real-time evaluation of pulmonary vein isolation during the Arctic Front procedure,” Medtronic AF Solutions division vice president Reggie Groves said in prepared remarks.

Last week, the first patient procedure in the United States using the new catheter was performed by Dr. Robert Kowal, an electrophysiologist at the Baylor Heart & Vascular Hospital in Dallas.

Roughly 15,000 Arctic Front procedures have been performed worldwide, including 1,000 procedures with the Achieve catheter in Europe, according to Medtronic.

According to research published recently in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, patients with atrial fibrillation add $26 billion to the U.S.’s health care costs annually.

Of that $26 billion total, $6 billion goes to AF care, $9.9 billion winds up being spent on other cardiovascular risk factors or disease and $10.1 billion is spent on treating non-cardiovascular health problems. In addition, the AF patients studied were hospitalized twice as often, had three times the rate of multiple hospitalizations, and had four times as many cardiovascular admissions as patients without the condition, according to a statement from the American Heart Association.