News Column

Patent Issued for User Interface for Ablation Therapy

July 8, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Technology -- A patent by the inventors Skwarek, Thomas R. (Shoreview, MN); Wenger, William K. (St. Paul, MN); Bosacker, Keith S. (St. Anthony, MN), filed on September 1, 2011, was published online on June 24, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8758337 is assigned to Medtronic, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Ablation therapy is a surgical technique used to destroy or remove tissue selectively to reduce or eliminate patient conditions. Many different technologies are directed to tissue ablation. Such technologies include electrical ablation, ultrasound ablation, cryoablation, conductive heating, radioactive heating, and combination ablation that includes more than one technology. Electrical ablation includes radio frequency (RF) ablation, microwave ablation, and other electrical ablation technologies that utilize electrical current to heat the target tissue. Another electrical ablation technique includes RF ablation and a fluid medium to heat and ablate the tissue. This technique utilizes devices commonly called 'wet electrodes' which pass electrical current from the electrodes through an adjacent fluid. All of these techniques require user input to control the ablation therapy.

"Ablation therapy systems commonly include user interfaces that allow a user to define the parameters of the ablation therapy, monitor the ablation therapy progress, or both. These user interfaces may include simple switches and dials, individual electrical inputs and outputs, complex user interfaces such as cathode ray tubes (CRT) or liquid crystal displays (LCD), or a combination of these types of controls. The user interacts with the user interface to correctly deliver ablation therapy to the patient and monitor progress to stop therapy before ablating healthy tissue or otherwise harming the patient. In some cases, user interfaces are directed to a particular patient anatomy or ablation therapy.

"One example of an ablation therapy is treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is a condition caused by the second period of continued prostate gland growth. This growth begins after a man is approximately 25 years old and may begin to cause health problems after 40 years of age. The prostate growth eventually begins to constrict the urethra and may cause problems with urination and bladder functionality. Ablation therapy attempts to create a lesion in the prostate and decrease the prostate size, restoring appropriate bladder function."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The disclosure describes a user interface that may be used to control ablation therapy and monitor ablation therapy progress in systems that utilize wet electrode ablation techniques. The user interface presents a virtual electrode depth icon to a user that indicates the size of a lesion that may be created with the selected virtual electrode depth. The virtual electrode depth icon may include a plurality of nested circles or a spiral ramped depth. The virtual electrode depth may be changed by the user according to the ablation most appropriate for a patient or therapy, and the user may interact with the user interface to define the virtual electrode depth. During ablation therapy, the virtual electrode depth icon is progressively shaded to represent the current lesion size already created.

"The user interface may also provide other data to the user. For example, a thermometer icon that represents a therapy critical temperature may be displayed that allows the user to quickly identify the temperature of sensitive tissue adjacent to the lesion area. In addition, the user interface may display a remaining time for ablation therapy, an electrical resistance indicator for the ablated tissue, and other therapy indicators such as fluid pressure.

"The user interface controls the ablation system that creates the lesion in the patient. In this manner, the user interface may be embodied as a touchscreen that makes changes to the therapy according to where the user presses on the touchscreen. However, other input devices such as a mouse, pointing device, keyboard, or voice activation device may be implemented with the user interface. As described herein, the example user interface is optimized to ablate prostate tissue with a wet electrode. However, the user interface may be used with any type of ablation procedure.

"In one embodiment, this disclosure is directed to a method that includes receiving ablation user input from a user defining a virtual electrode depth. The method also includes representing the virtual electrode depth of an ablation device as a virtual electrode depth icon on a display, wherein the virtual electrode depth icon is configured to progressively shade an area of the virtual electrode depth according to an ablation therapy progress.

"In another embodiment, this disclosure is directed to a system that includes a user interface that represents a virtual electrode depth of an ablation device as a virtual electrode depth icon and receives ablation user input from a user, wherein the virtual electrode depth icon is configured to progressively shape an area of the virtual electrode depth icon according to an ablation therapy progress. The system also includes a processor that defines the virtual electrode depth according to the ablation user input.

"In an additional embodiment, this disclosure is directed to a computer-readable medium including instructions that cause a processor to receive ablation user input from a user defining a virtual electrode depth. The computer-readable medium also includes instructions that cause the processor to represent a virtual electrode depth of an ablation device as a virtual electrode depth icon on a display. The virtual electrode depth icon is configured to progressively shade an area of the virtual electrode depth according to an ablation therapy.

"In various embodiments, the device described in this disclosure may provide one or more advantages. For example, the user interface displays a simple virtual electrode depth icon that indicates the size of a lesion that will be produced during the ablation therapy. The virtual electrode depth icon progressively shades the predicted lesion size during therapy to indicate the lesion progress. In addition, the user interface provides a thermometer icon that includes multiple methods for viewing a tissue temperature including thermometer icon color, a slider on the icon, and a number value for the temperature. In this manner, the user interface may reduce the time needed by a user to set up the therapy and enable more efficient therapy delivery.

"The details of one or more embodiments of the invention are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Skwarek, Thomas R.; Wenger, William K.; Bosacker, Keith S.. User Interface for Ablation Therapy. U.S. Patent Number 8758337, filed September 1, 2011, and published online on June 24, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8758337.PN.&OS=PN/8758337RS=PN/8758337

Keywords for this news article include: Therapy, Technology, Medtronic Inc..

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Source: Journal of Technology


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