Purpose: The aims of this study were to develop an experimental procedure for setting the catheter angle with respect to the surface of the heart muscle and the catheter contact force and to investigate the catheter contact area on the heart muscle as a function of catheter contact angle and force. Methods: Visualization tests were performed for 5 contact angles (0°, 30°, 45°, 60°, and 90°) and 8 contact forces (2, 4, 6, 10, 15, 20, 30, and 40 gf). Each experiment was repeated 6 times with 2 different commercially available catheter tips. Results: The morphology of the contact area was classified into rectangular, circular, ellipsoidal, and semi-ellipsoidal. The correlation between contact force and contact area was a logarithmic function; increasing contact force was associated with increased contact area. At the same contact force, the correlation between contact angle and contact area was inverse; decreasing contact angle was associated with a corresponding increase in contact area. Conclusion: Both the catheter contact angle and contact force substantially impact the contact area and morphology in catheter ablation procedures.
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