(19)
(11)EP 2 618 766 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
22.07.2020 Bulletin 2020/30

(21)Application number: 11848886.5

(22)Date of filing:  03.11.2011
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A61B 18/14  (2006.01)
A61B 18/02  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2011/059096
(87)International publication number:
WO 2012/082249 (21.06.2012 Gazette  2012/25)

(54)

IRRIGATED ABLATION ELECTRODE ASSEMBLIES

ANORDNUNGEN AUS BEWÄSSERTEN ABLATIONSELEKTRODEN

ENSEMBLES ÉLECTRODES D'ABLATION IRRIGUÉE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 17.12.2010 US 971645

(43)Date of publication of application:
31.07.2013 Bulletin 2013/31

(73)Proprietor: St. Jude Medical, Atrial Fibrillation Division, Inc.
St. Paul, Minnesota 55117 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • CHRISTIAN, Steven C.
    New Brighton, Minnesota 55112 (US)

(74)Representative: Kramer Barske Schmidtchen Patentanwälte PartG mbB 
European Patent Attorneys Landsberger Strasse 300
80687 München
80687 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-96/34569
US-A1- 2009 163 911
US-B1- 6 171 275
US-A- 5 792 140
US-A1- 2010 168 729
US-B2- 7 591 816
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


    a. Field of the Invention



    [0001] The instant disclosure relates generally to ablation electrode assemblies. In particular, the instant disclosure relates to ablation electrode assemblies having a mechanism for irrigating the ablation electrode assemblies and/or targeted tissue areas in a human body. The instant disclosure further relates to irrigated ablation electrode assemblies that include an electrode having at least one radially extending passageway for irrigation fluid. In an embodiment, the instant disclosure further relates to irrigated ablation electrode assemblies that include first and second thermally insulating manifolds that will thermally isolate the ablation electrode from the irrigation fluid.

    b. Background Art



    [0002] Electrophysiology catheters are used in a variety of diagnostic and/or therapeutic medical procedures to diagnose and/or correct conditions such as atrial arrhythmias, including for example, ectopic atrial tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, and atrial flutter. Arrhythmias can create a variety of conditions including irregular heart rates, loss of synchronous atrioventricular contractions and stasis of blood flow in a chamber of a heart which can lead to a variety of symptomatic and asymptomatic ailments and even death.

    [0003] A medical procedure in which an electrophysiology catheter is used includes a first diagnostic catheter deployed through a patient's vasculature to a patient's heart or a chamber or vein thereof. An electrophysiology catheter that carries one or more electrodes can be used for cardiac mapping or diagnosis, ablation and/or other therapy delivery modes, or both. Once at the intended site, treatment can include radio frequency (RF) ablation, cryoablation, laser ablation, chemical ablation, high-intensity focused ultrasound-based ablation, microwave ablation, etc. An electrophysiology catheter imparts ablative energy to cardiac tissue to create one or more lesions in the cardiac tissue and oftentimes a contiguous or linear and transmural lesion. This lesion disrupts undesirable cardiac activation pathways and thereby limits, corrals, or prevents stray errant conduction signals that can form the basis for arrhythmias.

    [0004] Because RF ablation can generate significant heat, which if not controlled can result in excessive tissue damages, such as steam pop, tissue charring, and the like, it can be desirable to monitor the temperature of ablation electrode assemblies. It can also be desirable to include a mechanism to irrigate the ablation electrode assemblies and/or targeted areas in a patient's body with biocompatible fluids, such as saline solution. The use of irrigated ablation electrode assemblies can also prevent the formation of soft thrombus and/or blood coagulation, as well as enable deeper and/or greater volume lesions as compared to conventional, non-irrigated catheters at identical power settings.

    [0005] Typically, there are two classes of catheters incorporating irrigated ablation electrode assemblies: open and closed irrigation catheters. Closed irrigation catheters usually circulate a cooling fluid within an inner cavity of the electrode. Open irrigation catheters usually deliver the cooling fluid through open outlets or openings on the surface of the electrode. Open irrigation catheters use the inner cavity of the electrode, or distal member, as a manifold to distribute saline solution, or other biocompatible irrigation fluids known to those of ordinary skill in the art, to one or more passageways that lead to openings/outlets provided on the surface of the electrode. The saline solution (or other biocompatible irrigation fluid) thus flows directly through the outlets of the passageways onto the electrode or distal member. The direct flow of fluid through the electrode can lower the temperature of the distal end of the electrode during operation, rendering accurate monitoring and control of the ablation more difficult.

    [0006] Some open irrigation catheters can include a thermally insulating manifold made of a reduced thermally conductive material, such as plastic, for example to enable more accurate monitoring and control of the ablation. Although the use of a thermally insulating manifold made of a reduced thermally conductive material can be beneficial, such a thermally insulating manifold can be generally difficult to manufacture and the resulting structures can cause reliability issues.

    [0007] US 5,792,140 discloses an ablation catheter comprising a delivery catheter having a distal end, a proximal end, and at least one lumen extending therebetween, a handle attached to the proximal end of the delivery catheter, an inner catheter located within the lumen of the delivery catheter, having a distal tip section, a distal end, a proximal end, and a central lumen extending therebetween, wherein the distal tip section has at least one electrode, a plurality of needles on the at least one electrode which form a multiple-needle electrode, wherein each needle has a needle structure comprising a hollow passage with an outlet port, and means formed within the needle structure for providing fluid communication and commensurate flow of fluid originating inside the needle structure to portions of the exterior surface of said at least one electrode through the said hollow passage which direct the fluid flow from inside the central lumen of the inner catheter over the exterior surface of the needles to provide a fluid protective layer surrounding the electrode to minimize temperature elevation of the electrode with biological tissue.

    [0008] US 2010/0168729 A1 discloses a distal assembly of an irrigated ablation catheter, comprising a manifold and an ablation electrode extending along an axis, said manifold configured for connection to a distal end of a shaft of said catheter, said ablation electrode including a first irrigation passageway having a first opening at a distal tip of said electrode, said first opening being offset in distance from said axis.

    [0009] US 2009/0163911 A1 discloses an insulated irrigated ablation electrode assembly comprising a proximal member having a body portion including an outer surface, an inner cavity within the outer body portion, and at least one passageway that extends from the inner cavity to the outer surface of the body portion, a distal member having a distal end, and an intermediate member disposed between the proximal member and the distal member thereby thermally insulating the proximal member from the distal member.

    BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0010] It is desirable to be able to provide irrigated ablation electrode assemblies that have improved manufacturability and reliability.

    [0011] The instant disclosure relates to an irrigated ablation electrode assembly as claimed in claim 1. Further developments of the present invention are set out in the dependent claims. The disclosed irrigated ablation electrode assembly comprises a distal member, a first manifold, and a second manifold in accordance with a first embodiment. The distal member includes an outer surface, an inner surface, and at least one radially extending passageway that extends from the inner surface of the distal member to the outer surface of the distal member. The distal member can include a plurality of radially extending passageways. At least a portion of at least one of the plurality of radially extending passageways can include a coating comprised of an electrically non-conductive material in an embodiment of the disclosure. The distal member can be comprised of an electrically conductive material. A thermal sensor can be disposed within the distal member.

    [0012] The first manifold includes an outer surface, an inner cavity, and at least one radially extending passageway that extends from the inner cavity to the outer surface of the first manifold. The first manifold can include a plurality of radially extending passageways. The first manifold can be a thermal insulator having reduced thermal conductivity. At least a portion of the first manifold can be disposed internally relative to at least a portion of the distal member. The first manifold can further include an axially extending passageway extending from the inner cavity to a distal end of the first manifold. At least a portion of an end of each of the plurality of radially extending passageways and at least a portion of an end of the axially extending passageway can be located at approximately the same position along a longitudinal axis of the ablation electrode assembly.

    [0013] The second manifold includes an outer surface, an inner surface, and at least one radially extending passageway that extends from the inner surface of the second manifold to the outer surface of the second manifold. The second manifold can include a plurality of radially extending passageways. The second manifold can be a thermal insulator having reduced thermal conductivity. At least a portion of the second manifold can be disposed externally relative to at least a portion of the distal member. The at least one radially extending passageway of the first manifold, the at least one radially extending passageway of the second manifold, and the at least one radially extending passageway of the distal member can be radially aligned.

    [0014] A plate can be mounted inside at least one of the radially extending passageway of the first manifold, the radially extending passageway of the second manifold, or the radially extending passageway of the distal member. The plate includes an aperture for metering fluid flow.

    [0015] The instant disclosure also relates to an irrigated catheter assembly comprising a catheter including a catheter shaft having a fluid lumen and an irrigation ablation electrode assembly.

    [0016] The instant disclosure also relates to an irrigated ablation electrode assembly comprising a distal member, a first manifold, and a second manifold in accordance with a second embodiment. In accordance with the second embodiment, the second manifold can comprise a first portion comprising a generally annular ring with a first outer diameter. The least one radially extending passageway can be disposed in the first portion. The second manifold can further comprise a second portion comprising a radially outwardly extending flange with a second outer diameter. The second outer diameter can be greater than the first outer diameter. In accordance with the second embodiment, the irrigated ablation electrode assembly can further include a flow member. The flow member can comprise a generally annular ring having a proximal end and a distal end. The proximal end of the flow member can engage the distal member. The distal end of the flow member can define a circumferential irrigation port between the flow member and the second manifold.

    [0017] The foregoing and other aspects, features, details, utilities, and advantages of the present disclosure will be apparent from reading the following description and claims, and from reviewing the accompanying drawings.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0018] 

    FIG. 1 is an isometric partially transparent view of an irrigation catheter incorporating an irrigated ablation electrode assembly in accordance with a first embodiment of the disclosure.

    FIG. 2 is an isometric exploded view of the irrigated ablation electrode assembly of FIG. 1.

    FIG. 3 is an isometric cross-sectional view of the irrigated ablation electrode assembly of FIG. 1.

    FIG. 4 is an isometric partially transparent view of the irrigation catheter and of the irrigated ablation electrode assembly of FIG. 1.

    FIG. 5 is an isometric partially transparent view of the irrigated ablation electrode assembly of FIG. 1.

    FIG. 6 is an isometric partially transparent view of an irrigated ablation electrode assembly in accordance with a second embodiment of the disclosure.

    FIG. 7 is an isometric partially transparent view of an irrigation catheter incorporating an irrigated ablation electrode assembly provided for comparative purposes only.

    FIG. 8 is an isometric partially transparent view of the irrigated ablation electrode assembly of Fig. 7.

    FIG. 9 is a proximal end partially transparent view of the irrigated ablation electrode assembly of FIG. 7.

    FIG. 10 is a distal end partially transparent view of the irrigated ablation electrode assembly of FIG. 7.

    FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of the irrigated ablation electrode assembly of FIG. 10, taken along line A-A.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE



    [0019] The instant disclosure generally relates to irrigated ablation electrode assemblies. For purposes of this description, similar aspects among the various embodiments described herein will be referred to by the same reference number. As will be appreciated, however, the structure of the various aspects can be different among the various embodiments.

    [0020] As generally shown in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the ablation electrode assembly 10 can comprise part of an irrigated catheter assembly 12. Irrigated catheter assembly 12 can be provided for examination, diagnosis, and/or treatment of internal body tissues (e.g., targeted tissue areas). In an exemplary embodiment, irrigated catheter assembly 12 can comprise an ablation catheter (e.g., radio frequency (RF), cryoablation, ultrasound, etc.). The instant disclosure generally refers to RF ablation electrodes and assemblies, but it is contemplated that the instant disclosure is equally applicable to any number of other ablation electrodes and assemblies where the temperature of the device and the targeted tissue areas can be factors during diagnostic and/or therapeutic medical procedures.

    [0021] Irrigated catheter assembly 12 includes a catheter shaft 14 having a proximal end and a distal end. The catheter shaft 14 is an elongate, tubular, flexible member configured for movement within a body. The catheter shaft 14 can be introduced into a blood vessel or other structure within a body through a conventional introducer. The catheter shaft 14 can be steered or guided through a body to a desired location such as targeted tissue areas with pullwires, tension elements, so-called push elements, or other means known in the art.

    [0022] Irrigated catheter assembly 12 further includes at least one fluid lumen or fluid delivery tube 16 disposed within the catheter shaft 14. The fluid delivery tube 16 is configured to supply fluid to the ablation electrode assembly 10. The fluid delivery tube 16 of the irrigated catheter assembly 12 can be connected to a fluid source (not shown) providing a biocompatible fluid such as saline, or a medicament, through a pump (not shown), which can comprise, for example, a fixed rate roller pump or variable volume syringe pump with a gravity feed supply from the fluid source for irrigation. The fluid source and/or pump is conventional in the art. The fluid source and/or pump can comprise a commercially available unit sold under the name Cool Point™, available from St. Jude Medical, Inc. in an embodiment.

    [0023] Irrigated catheter assembly 12 further includes one or more electrodes 18 mounted in or on the catheter shaft 14. Electrodes 18 can comprise ring electrodes. Electrodes 18 can comprise positioning electrodes used, for example, with a visualization, navigation, and mapping system (not shown). Electrodes 18 can be configured to provide a signal indicative of both a position and orientation of at least a portion of the catheter shaft 14. The visualization, navigation, and/or mapping system with which the electrodes 18 can be used can comprise an electric field-based system, such as, for example, that having the model name ENSITE NAVX (aka EnSite Classic as well as newer versions of the EnSite system, denoted as ENSITE VELOCITY) and commercially available from St. Jude Medical, Inc. and as generally shown with reference to U.S. Patent No. 7,263,397 titled "Method and Apparatus for Catheter Navigation and Location and Mapping in the Heart,". In accordance with an electric field-based system, the electrodes 18 can be configured to be responsive to an electric field transmitted within the body of the patient. The electrodes 18 can be used to sense an impedance at a particular location and transmit a representative signal to an external computer or processor. In other exemplary embodiments, however, the visualization, navigation, and/or mapping system can comprise other types of systems, such as, for example and without limitation: a magnetic field-based system such as the CARTO System (now in a hybrid form with impedance- and magnetically-driven electrodes) available from Biosense Webster, and as generally shown with reference to one or more of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,498,944 entitled "Intrabody Measurement," 6,788,967 entitled "Medical Diagnosis, Treatment and Imaging Systems," and 6,690,963 entitled "System and Method for Determining the Location and Orientation of an Invasive Medical Instrument," or the gMPS system from MediGuide Ltd. of Haifa, Israel (now owned by St. Jude Medical, Inc.), and as generally shown with reference to one or more of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,233,476 entitled "Medical Positioning System," 7,197,354 entitled "System for Determining the Position and Orientation of a Catheter," and 7,386,339 entitled "Medical Imaging and Navigation System,". In accordance with a magnetic field-based system, the electrodes 18 can be configured to be responsive to a magnetic field transmitted through the body of the patient. The electrodes 18 can be used to sense the strength of the field at a particular location and transmit a representative signal to an external computer or processor. The electrodes 18 can comprise one or more metallic coils located on or within the catheter shaft 14 in a magnetic field-based system. As noted above, a combination electric field-based and magnetic field-based system such as the CARTO 3 System also available from Biosense Webster, and as generally shown with reference to U.S. Patent No. 7,536,218 entitled "Hybrid Magnetic-Based and Impedance-Based Position Sensing," can be used. In accordance with a combination electric field-based and magnetic field-based system, the electrodes 18 can comprise both one or more impedance-based electrodes and one or more magnetic coils. Commonly available fluoroscopic, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based systems can also be used.

    [0024] Irrigated catheter assembly 12 can include other conventional components such as, for example and without limitation, conductors associated with the electrodes 18, and possibly additional electronics used for signal processing, visualization, localization, and/or conditioning. Irrigated catheter assembly 12 can further include multiple lumens for receiving additional components. Irrigated catheter assembly 12 can further include a cable connector or interface (not shown) and a handle (not shown). The cable connector or interface can provide mechanical, fluid, and electrical connection(s) for cables (not shown) extending from the pump and/or an ablation system as described in more detail below. The cable connector or interface can be conventional in the art and can be disposed at the proximal end of the irrigated catheter assembly 12. The handle can provide a location for the clinician to hold the irrigated catheter assembly 12 and can further provide means for steering or guiding the catheter shaft 14 within the body as known in the art. Catheter handles are generally conventional in the art and it will be understood that the construction of the handle can vary. In an embodiment, for the purpose of steering the catheter shaft 14 within the body, the handle can be substituted by a controllable robotic actuator.

    [0025] Ablation electrode assembly 10 can be connected to and/or coupled with catheter shaft 14 to form irrigated catheter assembly 12. Referring now to FIGS. 1-5, the ablation electrode assembly 10 of irrigated catheter assembly 12 can include a distal member 20, a first manifold 22, and a second manifold 24 in accordance with a first embodiment of the disclosure. The lengths and/or diameters of distal member 20, first manifold 22, and second manifold 24, ablation electrode assembly 10, as well as portions thereof, can vary depending on the design of ablation electrode assembly 10. The distal member 20 may be about 4 millimeters in length in an embodiment.

    [0026] Distal member 20 can be disposed at or near the distal end of catheter shaft 14. Distal member 20 can be disposed at the extreme distal end (e.g., tip) of the shaft 14. Distal member 20 can be comprised of any electrically, and potentially thermally, conductive material known to those of ordinary skill in the art for the delivery of ablative energy to targeted tissue areas. Examples of electrically conductive materials include gold, platinum, iridium, palladium, stainless steel, and/or any combination thereof. In particular, a combination of platinum and iridium can be used in various combinations. Accordingly, in an embodiment, distal member 20 is an ablation electrode for use in RF ablation.

    [0027] Distal member 20 can be electrically connected to an ablation system (not shown) to allow for the delivery of ablative energy, or the like. Distal member 20 can be electrically connected to an ablation system in any manner conventional in the art. For example, a power wire 25 can be provided within distal member 20 of ablation electrode assembly 10 as generally illustrated in FIG. 3. The power wire 25 can extend through a lumen(s) provided within the ablation electrode assembly 10. Irrigated catheter assembly 12 can be configured for operation at an initial power setting of up to 50 Watts. The ablation system can be comprised of, for example, an ablation generator (not shown) and one or more ablation patch electrodes (not shown). The ablation generator generates, delivers, and controls ablation energy (e.g., RF) output by the irrigated catheter assembly 12 and the distal member 20 thereof, in particular. The generator is conventional in the art and can comprise a commercially available unit sold under the model number IBI-1500T RF Cardiac Ablation Generator, available from St. Jude Medical, Inc. In an exemplary embodiment, the generator can include an RF ablation signal source configured to generate an ablation signal that is output across a pair of source connectors: a positive polarity connector SOURCE (+), which electrically connects to the distal member 20 of the ablation electrode assembly 10 of the irrigated catheter assembly 12; and a negative polarity connector SOURCE(-), can be electrically connected to one or more of the patch electrodes. It should be understood that the term connectors as used herein does not imply a particular type of physical interface mechanism, but is rather broadly contemplated to represent one or more electrical nodes (including multiplexed and de-multiplexed nodes). The source is configured to generate a signal at a predetermined frequency in accordance with one or more user specified control parameters (e.g., power, time, temperature, etc.) and under the control of various feedback sensing and control circuitry. The source can generate a signal, for example, with a frequency of about 450 kHz or greater for RF energy. The generator can also monitor various parameters associated with the ablation procedure including, for example, impedance, the temperature at the distal tip of the irrigated catheter assembly, applied ablation energy, power, force, proximity, and the position of the irrigated catheter assembly, and provide feedback to the clinician or another component within the irrigated catheter assembly regarding these parameters. Operation in a temperature control mode can be at a set point above 50 degrees Celsius.

    [0028] As best illustrated in FIG. 2, distal member 20 can include a distal end portion 26 and a proximal end portion 28. Distal end portion 26 of distal member 20 can be generally cylindrical in shape and can include a distal end or tip 30. Distal end 30 of distal end portion 26 can be partially spherical or hemispherical in shape in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. Proximal end portion 28 of distal member 20 can also be generally cylindrical in shape. Proximal end portion 28 can have a reduced diameter relative to a diameter of the distal end portion 26. At least a portion of proximal end portion 28 can include a plurality of radially outwardly extending threads 32. Proximal end portion 28 of distal member 20 can be configured for coupling and/or connecting distal member 20 with catheter shaft 14. At least one retaining wire 33 can be connected to distal member 20 as generally illustrated in FIG. 3. Retaining wire 33 can be configured to ensure that distal member 20 and/or ablation electrode assembly 10 is not separated from catheter shaft 14 during movement of irrigated catheter assembly 12 within a body.

    [0029] As best illustrated in FIG. 3, distal member 20 also has an outer surface 34, an inner surface 36, and at least one radially extending passageway 38 that extends from the inner surface 36 of the distal member 20 to the outer surface 34 of the distal member 20. Distal member 20 includes a plurality of radially extending passageways 38 in an embodiment. Each of the radially extending passageways 38 of the distal member 20 extend from the inner surface 36 of the distal member 20 to the outer surface 34 of the distal member 20. Each of the radially extending passageways 38 of the distal member 20 can be disposed within the proximal portion 28 of the distal member 20 in an embodiment. In an embodiment, the radially extending passageways 38 of the distal member 20 are oriented and/or angled generally toward distal end or tip 30 at an acute angle (e.g., between about 20 to about 70 degrees, and for some embodiments, between about 30 to about 65 degrees) with respect to the longitudinal axis 44 of the ablation electrode assembly 10. The orientations of the radially extending passageways 38 vary depending on the design of the ablation electrode assembly 10. The radially extending passageways 38 of the distal member 20 can be straight or curved in various embodiments of the disclosure. The radially extending passageways 38 of the distal member 20 can be substantially equally spaced around the perimeter or circumference of the distal member 20 in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. Substantially equal spacing of the radially extending passageways 38 of the distal member 20 can provide substantially equal distribution of irrigation fluid (e.g., saline) to the targeted tissue areas and/or the outside of ablation electrode assembly 10. The radially extending passageways 38 of the distal member 20 can be generally tubular and can have a constant diameter along their length. In an embodiment, radially extending passageways 38 of the distal member 20 can have a diameter ranging in size from about 0.008 to about 0.015 inches, and for some embodiments between about 0.010 to about 0.012 inches. Alternate configurations having various shapes and diameters, for example, along all or portions of the length of the radially extending passageways 38 can be used in various embodiments.

    [0030] In an embodiment of the disclosure, a casing or coating 40 can be disposed on at least a portion of the distal member 20 that defines at least one of the plurality of the radially extending passageways 38. The coating 40 can be comprised of an electrically non-conductive material. The coating 40 can be comprised of diamond, diamond-like carbon or polytetrafluoroethylene, which is commonly sold by the E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company under the trade name Teflon®. In an embodiment, coating 40 is provided around the entire circumference and along the entire length of least one of the plurality of the radially extending passageways 38. However, coating 40 can be provided only around a portion of the circumference and/or only around a portion of the length of at least one of the plurality of the radially extending passageways 38 in accordance with various embodiments of the disclosure. The amount of coating 40 provided around the circumference and/or length of at least one of the plurality of the radially extending passageways 38 can vary depending on the relative requirements of ablation electrode assembly 10.

    [0031] Distal member 20 can include one or more additional lumens for receiving additional components of the ablation electrode assembly 10. For example, distal member 20 can include at least one lumen for receiving a temperature sensing mechanism 42 as generally illustrated in FIG. 4. The temperature sensing mechanism 42 can be configured for measurement and temperature control/regulation of ablation electrode assembly 10. The temperature sensing mechanism 42 can be any mechanism known to one of ordinary skill in the art, including for example and without limitation, thermal sensors, thermocouples, and/or thermistors. In an embodiment, the temperature sensing mechanism 42 can be surrounded and/or encapsulated by a thermally conductive and electrically non-conductive material (not shown). The thermally conductive and electrically non-conductive material can serve to hold temperature sensing mechanism 42 in place within distal member 20 and/or provide improved heat exchange between temperature sensing mechanism 42 and distal member 20. The thermally conductive and electrically non-conductive material can be comprised of a number of materials known to one of ordinary skill in the art, including for example, thermally conductive resins, epoxies, or potting compounds.

    [0032] First manifold 22 and distal member 20 can be serially coupled together or connected with one another along the same longitudinal axis 44. First manifold 22 and distal member 20 can be connected or coupled together by any known mechanisms including, for example and without limitation, adhesives, press-fit configurations, snap-fit configurations, or any other mechanism known to one of ordinary skill in the art. First manifold 22 is provided to isolate the distal member 20 from the irrigation fluid (e.g., saline) that can be used during a diagnostic and/or therapeutic medical procedure. The first manifold 22 is a thermal insulator having a reduced thermal conductivity. The first manifold 22 can be thermally nonconductive in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. Moreover, the first manifold 22 can comprise an electrically nonconductive material in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. In general, the first manifold 22 is lower in thermal conductivity, and preferably substantially lower, than distal member 20. First manifold 22 can comprise a reduced thermally conductive polymer in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. A reduced thermally conductive polymer is one with physical attributes that decrease heat transfer by about 10% or more, provided that the remaining structural components are selected with the appropriate characteristics and sensitivities desired for the ablation electrode assembly 10. One reduced thermally conductive material can include polyether ether ketone (PEEK). Additional examples of thermally nonconductive or reduced thermally conductive materials that can be useful in conjunction with the instant disclosure include, but are not limited to, high density polyethylene (HDPE), polyimide thermoplastic resins, such as ULTEM® as provided by General Electric Plastics (now known as SABIC Innovative Plastics), polyaryletherketones, polyurethane, polypropylene, oriented polypropylene, polyethylene, crystallized polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene terephthalate, polyester, polyetherimide, acetyl, ceramics, and/or various combinations thereof. First manifold 22 can also comprise other plastic materials such as silicone or polyether block amides such as those sold under the trademark PEBAX® and generally available from Arkema France in other embodiments of the disclosure.

    [0033] As best illustrated in FIG. 2, first manifold 22 can include a distal end portion 46, a proximal end portion 48, and an intermediate portion 50. Distal end portion 46 can be generally cylindrical in shape. Proximal end portion 48 can also be generally cylindrical in shape. Proximal end portion 48 can have a larger diameter relative to a diameter of the distal end portion 46. Intermediate portion 50 can also be generally cylindrical in shape. Intermediate portion 50 can have a larger diameter relative to both a diameter of the distal end portion 46 and a diameter of the proximal end portion 48. The inner surface 36 of distal member 20 can define a cavity that is configured to receive at least a portion of first manifold 22. For example and without limitation, the cavity defined by the inner surface 36 of distal member 20 can receive distal end portion 46 and intermediate portion 50 of first manifold 22. Accordingly, at least a portion (e.g., distal end portion 46 and intermediate portion 50) of first manifold 22 can be disposed internally relative to at least a portion of the distal member 20. Proximal end portion 48 can be configured to receive and/or envelop fluid delivery tube 16 carried within the catheter shaft 14.

    [0034] As best illustrated in FIG. 3, first manifold 22 has an outer surface 52, an inner cavity 54, and at least one radially extending passageway 56 that extends from the inner cavity 54 to the outer surface 52 of the first manifold 22. First manifold 22 includes a plurality of radially extending passageways 56 in an embodiment.

    [0035] Each of the radially extending passageways 56 of the first manifold 22 extend from the inner cavity 54 of the first manifold 22 at a first end 58 of each of the radially extending passageways 56 to the outer surface 52 of the first manifold 22 at a second end 60 of each of the plurality of the radially extending passageways 56. Each of the radially extending passageways 56 of the first manifold 22 can be disposed within the intermediate portion 50 of the first manifold 22 in an embodiment. In an embodiment, the radially extending passageways 56 of the first manifold 22 are oriented and/or angled generally toward distal end or tip 30 at an acute angle (e.g., between about 20 to about 70 degrees, and for some embodiments, between about 30 to about 65 degrees) with respect to the longitudinal axis 44 of the ablation electrode assembly 10. The orientations of the radially extending passageways 56 vary depending on the design of the ablation electrode assembly 10. The radially extending passageways 56 of the first manifold 22 can be straight or curved in various embodiments of the disclosure. The radially extending passageways 56 of the first manifold 22 can be substantially equally spaced around the perimeter or circumference of the first manifold 22 in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. Substantially equal spacing of the radially extending passageways 56 of the first manifold 22 can provide substantially equal distribution of irrigation fluid (e.g., saline) to the targeted tissue areas and/or the outside of ablation electrode assembly 10. The radially extending passageways 56 of the first manifold 22 can be generally tubular and can have a constant diameter along their length. In an embodiment, radially extending passageways 56 of the first manifold 22 can have a diameter ranging in size from about 0.008 to about 0.015 inches, and for some embodiments between about 0.010 to about 0.012 inches. Alternate configurations having various shapes and diameters, for example, along all or portions of the length of the radially extending passageways 56 can be used in various embodiments.

    [0036] The first manifold 22 further comprises an axially extending passageway 62 extending from the inner cavity 54 at a first end 64 of the axially extending passageway 62 to a distal end 66 of the first manifold 22 at a second end 68 of the axially extending passageway 62 in some embodiments. The axially extending passageway 62 enables irrigation fluid to flow to distal end or tip 30 of distal member 20 and through a distal tip port 69, therein substantially irrigating the tip 30 of the distal member 20 of the ablation electrode assembly 10. The axially extending passageway 62 and/or the distal tip port 69 is optional, such that the radially extending passageways 56 of the first manifold 22 can be the only source of irrigation fluid in some embodiments of the disclosure. In such embodiments of the disclosure, the only source of irrigation fluid is from the periphery of the ablation electrode assembly 10 proximal of the distal member 20. In such embodiments of the disclosure, the distal member 20 can comprise, for example and without limitation, a solid electrode (e.g., a solid metallic electrode) or a two-piece electrode comprising a cap over a core (e.g., a metallic cap over a core of a resin-based material). At least a portion of the first end 58 of each of the plurality of radially extending passageways 56 of the first manifold 22 and at least a portion of the first end 64 of the axially extending passageway 62 of the first manifold 22 are located at approximately the same position along a longitudinal axis 44 of the ablation electrode assembly 10. By positioning the first ends 58, 64 of all passageways 56, 62 (i.e., both radially extending passageways 56 and axially extending passageway 62) in close proximity, improved fluid flow balance can be achieved. Moreover, the co-location of the first ends 58, 64 of all passageways 56, 62 (i.e., both radially extending passageways 56 and axially extending passageway 62) can reduce the siphoning effect (i.e., reverse flow of blood into the ablation electrode assembly 10) due to local low pressure zones at higher flow rates.

    [0037] Additional metering control can be achieved by mounting a plate 70 inside at least one of the plurality of the radially extending passageways 62 of the first manifold 22. The plate 70 can include an aperture 72 for metering fluid flow through the radially extending passageway 62. In particular, the plate 70 can be a thin plate with a sharp-edged aperture 72 through which the fluid in the passageway 62 can be accelerated. The acceleration of the fluid flow can cause the local static pressure to decrease. The flow rate can be sensed by taking one pressure reading upstream of the aperture 72 and one pressure reading downstream of the aperture 72. Although a plate 70 is described as being mounted in at least one of the plurality of the radially extending passageways 62 of the first manifold 22, a plate 70 can also be mounted in at least one of the plurality of the radially extending passageways 38 of the distal member 20, and/or at least one of the plurality of the radially extending passageways 78 of the second manifold 24, and/or combinations thereof in accordance with other embodiments of the disclosure. In accordance with an embodiment, overall total fluid volumes can be much lower than prior art or typically utilized in clinical practice, especially valuable for patients already suffering from fluid overload (e.g., patient having heart failure and the like). That is, overall total fluid volume can be below thirteen milliliters per minute while effectively reducing or eliminating char and coagulum and improving temperature correlation for precise control of power to maintain a temperature during ablation procedures.

    [0038] Second manifold 24, first manifold 22, and distal member 20 can be serially coupled together or connected with one another along the same longitudinal axis 44. Second manifold 24, first manifold 22 and distal member 20 can be connected or coupled together by any known mechanisms including, for example and without limitation, adhesives, press-fit configurations, snap-fit configurations, or any other mechanism known to one of ordinary skill in the art. Second manifold 24 is provided to isolate the distal member 20 from the irrigation fluid (e.g., saline) that can be used during a diagnostic and/or therapeutic medical procedure. The second manifold 24 is a thermal insulator having a reduced thermal conductivity. The second manifold 24 can be thermally nonconductive in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. Moreover, the second manifold 24 can comprise an electrically nonconductive material in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. In general, the second manifold 24 is lower in thermal conductivity, and preferably substantially lower, than distal member 20. Second manifold 24 can comprise a reduced thermally conductive polymer in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. One reduced thermally conductive material can include PEEK. Additional examples of thermally nonconductive or reduced thermally conductive materials that can be useful in conjunction with the instant disclosure include, but are not limited to, HDPE, polyimide thermoplastic resins, such as ULTEM® as provided by General Electric Plastics (now known as SABIC Innovative Plastics), polyaryletherketones, polyurethane, polypropylene, oriented polypropylene, polyethylene, crystallized polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene terephthalate, polyester, polyetherimide, acetyl, ceramics, and/or various combinations thereof. Second manifold 24 can also comprise other plastic materials such as silicone or polyether block amides such as those sold under the trademark PEBAX® and generally available from Arkema France in other embodiments of the disclosure.

    [0039] As best illustrated in FIG. 2, second manifold 24 can comprise a generally annular ring. An outer diameter of the generally annular ring comprising second manifold 24 can be substantially the same as an outer diameter of the distal end portion 26 of distal member 20. As best illustrated in FIGS. 2-3, second manifold 24 has an outer surface 74, an inner surface 76, and at least one radially extending passageway 78 that extends from the inner surface 76 of the second manifold 24 to the outer surface 74 of the second manifold 24.

    [0040] Second manifold 24 includes a plurality of radially extending passageways 78 in an embodiment. Each of the radially extending passageways 78 of the second manifold 24 extend from the inner surface 76 of the second manifold 24 to the outer surface 74 of the second manifold 24. The radially extending passageways 78 of the second manifold 24 can be substantially equally spaced around the circumference of the second manifold 24 in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. In an embodiment, the radially extending passageways 78 of the second manifold 24 are oriented and/or angled generally toward distal end or tip 30 at an acute angle (e.g., between about 20 to about 70 degrees, and for some embodiments, between about 30 to about 65 degrees) with respect to the longitudinal axis 44 of the ablation electrode assembly 10. The orientations of the radially extending passageways 78 vary depending on the design of the ablation electrode assembly 10. The radially extending passageways 78 of the second manifold 24 can be straight or curved in various embodiments of the disclosure. The radially extending passageways 78 of the second manifold 24 can be substantially equally spaced around the perimeter or circumference of the second manifold 24 in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. Substantially equal spacing of the radially extending passageways 78 of the second manifold 24 can provide substantially equal distribution of irrigation fluid (e.g., saline) to the targeted tissue areas and/or the outside of ablation electrode assembly 10. The radially extending passageways 78 of the second manifold 24 can be generally tubular and can have a constant diameter along their length. In an embodiment, radially extending passageways 78 of the second manifold can have a diameter ranging in size from about 0.008 to about 0.015 inches, and for some embodiments between about 0.010 to about 0.012 inches. Alternate configurations having various shapes and diameters, for example, along all or portions of the length of the radially extending passageways 78 can be used in various embodiments.

    [0041] At least a portion of the second manifold 24 is disposed externally relative to at least a portion (e.g., at least a portion of proximal end portion 28) of the distal member 20. For example, the second manifold 24 can surround and/or encircle at least a portion of the distal member 20. When the distal member 20, first manifold 22, and second manifold 24 are assembled, the at least one radially extending passageway 38 of the distal member 20, the at least one radially extending passageway 56 of the first manifold 22, and the at least one radially extending passageway 78 of the second manifold 24 are radially aligned in an embodiment of the disclosure.

    [0042] Referring now to FIG. 6, the ablation electrode assembly 110 can include a distal member 20, a first manifold 22, and a second manifold 124 in accordance with a second embodiment of the disclosure. The distal member 20 and first manifold 22 of the ablation electrode assembly 110 in accordance with a second embodiment of the disclosure can be substantially identical to the distal member 20 and first manifold 22 of the ablation electrode assembly 10 as described hereinabove.

    [0043] The second manifold 124 of the ablation electrode assembly 110 in accordance with a second embodiment of the disclosure can be substantially similar to the second manifold 24 of the ablation electrode assembly 10 as described hereinabove, except that the second manifold 124 includes a first portion 180 and a second portion 182. First portion 180 can be located at a proximal end of the second manifold 124. First portion 180 comprises a generally annular ring with an outer surface 174, an inner surface (not shown), and at least one radially extending passageway 178 that extends from the inner surface of the second manifold 124 to the outer surface 174 of the second manifold 124. First portion 180 of the second manifold 124 has a first outer diameter D1. First outer diameter D1 is smaller than an outer diameter of the distal end portion 26 of distal member 20. First portion 180 of the second manifold 124 is configured to surround and/or encircle proximal end portion 28 of distal member 20. Second portion 182 can be located at a distal end of the second manifold 124. Second portion 182 comprises a radially outwardly extending flange with a second outer diameter D2. The radially outwardly extending flange comprising the section portion 182 of the second manifold 124 can be angled toward the distal end or tip 30 at an acute angle with respect to the longitudinal axis 44 of the ablation electrode assembly 110. The second outer diameter D2 is greater than the first outer diameter D1. Second outer diameter D2 can be substantially the same as an outer diameter of the distal end portion 26 of distal member 20. Second portion 182 of the second manifold 124 is configured to engage the distal end portion 26 of distal member 20.

    [0044] In accordance with the ablation electrode assembly 110 in accordance with a second embodiment of the disclosure, the ablation electrode assembly 110 further includes a flow member 184. Flow member 184 comprises a generally annular ring having a proximal end 186 and a distal end 188. At least a portion of the proximal end 186 of the flow member 184 can engage the proximal end portion 28 of the distal member 20. At least a portion of the distal end 188 of the flow member 184 can surround and/or encircle second manifold 124 and, further, can define a circumferential irrigation port 190 between the flow member 184 and the second manifold 124. The circumferential irrigation port 190 can be continuous around the entire circumference of the flow member 184 in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure.

    [0045] Referring now to FIGS. 7-11, an ablation electrode assembly 210, which is shown for comparative purposes only, can include a distal member 220. Ablation electrode assembly 210 can be connected to and/or coupled with catheter shaft 14 to form irrigated catheter assembly 212. Distal member 220 can be disposed at or near the distal end of catheter shaft 14. Distal member 220 can be disposed at the extreme distal end (e.g., tip) of the shaft 14. Distal member 220 has a distal end 230 and a proximal end 292.

    [0046] Distal member 220 comprises a body 294 and a cap 296. Body 294 of distal member 200 can be comprised of any electrically, and potentially thermally, conductive material known to those of ordinary skill in the art for the delivery of ablative energy to targeted tissue areas. Examples of electrically conductive materials include gold, platinum, iridium, palladium, stainless steel, and/or any combination thereof. In particular, a combination of platinum and iridium can be used in various combinations. Body 294 has a distal portion 298 and a proximal portion 300. Distal portion 298 of body 294 can be generally cylindrical in shape. Distal portion 298 of body 294 defines a blind bore 302. The blind bore 302 is open at a distal end 304 of the distal portion 298 of body 294 and closed at a proximal end 306 of the distal portion 298 of body 294. Distal portion 298 of body 294 also defines at least one axially extending passageway 308 (e.g., fluid distribution channel). The axially extending passageway 308 can extend for substantially the length of the distal portion 298 of body 294. The axially extending passageway 308 can extend to the distal end 304 of the distal portion 298 of body 294. The axially extending passageway 308 enables irrigation fluid to flow to distal end 304 of the distal portion 298 of body 294. The distal portion 298 of body 294 can include at least one proximal irrigation port 310 that is configured to direct irrigation fluid proximally from the axially extending passageway 308. The proximal irrigation port 310 can extend substantially axially relative to the body 294. The distal portion 298 of body 294 can include a plurality of proximal irrigation ports 310 in an embodiment of the disclosure.

    [0047] Proximal portion 300 of body 294 can be generally cylindrical in shape. Proximal portion 300 of body 294 can have a reduced outer diameter relative to an outer diameter of the distal portion 298 of body 294. At least a portion of proximal portion 300 of body 294 can include a plurality of radially outwardly extending threads 312. Proximal portion 300 of body 294 can be configured for coupling and/or connecting distal member 220 with catheter shaft 14. Body 294 can also include at least one port 314 for receiving a retaining wire 313 that can be configured to ensure that distal member 220 and/or ablation electrode assembly 210 is not separated from catheter shaft 14 during movement of irrigated catheter assembly 212 within a body. Body 294 can also include at least one port 315 for receiving a temperature sensing mechanism (not shown). Body 294 can also include a plurality of ports 315 for receiving temperature sensing mechanisms in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. For example and without limitation, body 294 can include three ports 315. The temperature sensing mechanism can be configured for measurement and temperature control/regulation of ablation electrode assembly 210. The temperature sensing mechanism can be any mechanism known to one of ordinary skill in the art, including for example and without limitation, thermal sensors, thermocouples, and/or thermistors.

    [0048] Cap 296 of distal member 200 can be comprised of any electrically, and potentially thermally, conductive material known to those of ordinary skill in the art for the delivery of ablative energy to targeted tissue areas. Examples of electrically conductive materials include gold, platinum, iridium, palladium, stainless steel, and/or any combination thereof. In particular, a combination of platinum and iridium can be used in various combinations. Cap 296 has a first portion 316 that is disposed with the blind bore 302 of the body 294 and a second portion 318 that extends outside the body 294. The first portion 316 of cap 296 that is disposed within blind bore 302 can be generally cylindrical in shape. The second portion 318 of the cap 296 that extends outside the body 294 can be partially spherical or hemispherical in shape in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. The second portion 318 of the cap 296 that extends outside the body 294 includes at least one distal irrigation port 320 that is configured to direct irrigation fluid distally from the axially extending passageway 308. The distal irrigation port 320 can extend substantially radially relative to the body 294. The second portion 318 of the cap 296 can include a plurality of distal irrigation ports 320 in an embodiment of the disclosure. The cap 296 can include at least one port 322 for receiving a temperature sensing mechanism 324.

    [0049] Although three embodiments of this disclosure have been described above with a certain degree of particularity, those skilled in the art could make numerous alterations to the disclosed embodiments without departing from the scope of this disclosure. All directional references (e.g., upper, lower, upward, downward, left, right, leftward, rightward, top, bottom, above, below, vertical, horizontal, clockwise, and counterclockwise) are only used for identification purposes to aid the reader's understanding of the present disclosure, and do not create limitations, particularly as to the position, orientation, or use of the disclosure. Joinder references (e.g., attached, coupled, connected, and the like) are to be construed broadly and can include intermediate members between a connection of elements and relative movement between elements. As such, joinder references do not necessarily infer that two elements are directly connected and in fixed relation to each other. It is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative only and not limiting. Changes in detail or structure can be made without departing from the scope of the disclosure as defined in the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. An irrigated ablation electrode assembly (10, 110) comprising:

    a distal member (20) having a longitudinal axis associated therewith and comprising:

    a proximal end portion (28),

    a distal end portion (26),

    a distal member outer surface (34),

    a distal member inner surface (36), and

    at least one radially extending passageway (38) that extends from the distal member inner surface (36) to the distal member outer surface (34);

    a first manifold (22) comprising:

    a first manifold outer surface (52),

    an inner cavity (54), and

    at least one radially extending passageway (56) that extends from the inner cavity (54) to the first manifold outer surface (52);

    a second manifold (24, 124) comprising:

    a second manifold outer surface (74),

    a second manifold inner surface (76) disposed radially inwardly from the second manifold outer surface (74), and

    at least one radially extending passageway (78) that extends from the second manifold inner surface (76) to the second manifold outer surface (74),

    wherein the first manifold outer surface (52) is disposed radially inwardly from the second manifold and distal member outer surfaces (74, 34).


     
    2. The electrode assembly (10, 110) of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the first manifold (22) is disposed internally relative to at least a portion of the distal member (20).
     
    3. The electrode assembly (10, 110) of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the second manifold (24, 124) is disposed externally relative to at least a portion of the distal member (20).
     
    4. The electrode assembly (10, 110) of claim 1, wherein the first manifold (22) is a thermal insulator having a reduced thermal conductivity.
     
    5. The electrode assembly (10, 110) of claim 1, wherein the second manifold (24, 124) is a thermal insulator having a reduced thermal conductivity.
     
    6. The electrode assembly (10, 110) of claim 1, wherein the at least one radially extending passageway (56) of the first manifold (22), the at least one radially extending passageway (78) of the second manifold (24, 124), and the at least one radially extending passageway (38) of the distal member (20) are radially aligned.
     
    7. The electrode assembly (10, 110) of claim 1, wherein the second manifold (24, 124) comprises a plurality of radially extending passageways (78), each of the radially extending passageways (78) of the second manifold (24, 124) extending from the second manifold inner surface (76) to the second manifold outer surface (74).
     
    8. The electrode assembly (10, 110) of claim 1, wherein the distal member (20) comprises a plurality of radially extending passageways (38), each of the radially extending passageways (38) of the distal member (20) extending from the distal member inner surface (36) to the distal member outer surface (34).
     
    9. The electrode assembly (10, 110) of claim 1, wherein the first manifold (22) comprises a plurality of radially extending passageways (56), each of the plurality of radially extending passageways (56) of the first manifold (22) extending from the inner cavity (54) at a first end (58) of each of the plurality of the radially extending passageways (56) to the first manifold outer surface (52) at a second end (60) of each of the plurality of the radially extending passageways (56).
     
    10. The electrode assembly (10, 110) of claim 9, wherein the first manifold (22) further comprises an axially extending passageway (62) extending from the inner cavity (54) at a first end (64) of the axially extending passageway (62) to a distal end (66) of the first manifold (22) at a second end (68) of the axially extending passageway (62), preferably wherein at least a portion of the first end (58) of each of the plurality of radially extending passageways (56) of the first manifold (22) and at least a portion of the first end (64) of the axially extending passageway (62) of the first manifold (22) are located at approximately the same position along the longitudinal axis (44) of the distal member (20).
     
    11. The electrode assembly (10, 110) of claim 1, wherein a plate (70) is mounted inside at least one of the radially extending passageway (56) of the first manifold (22), the radially extending passageway (78) of the second manifold (24, 124), or the radially extending passageway (38) of the distal member (20), wherein the plate (70) includes an aperture (72) for metering fluid flow.
     
    12. The electrode assembly (110) of claim 1, wherein the second manifold (124) comprises:

    a first portion (180) comprising a generally annular ring with a first outer diameter (D1), wherein the at least one radially extending passageway (178) is disposed in the first portion (180); and

    a second portion (182) comprising a radially outwardly extending flange with a second outer diameter (D2), wherein the second outer diameter (D2) is greater than the first outer diameter (D1).


     
    13. The electrode assembly (110) of claim 12, further comprising a flow member (184) comprising a generally annular ring having a proximal end (186) and a distal end (188), wherein the proximal end (186) of the flow member (184) engages the distal member (20) and the distal end (188) of the flow member (184) defines a circumferential irrigation port (190) between the flow member (184) and the second manifold (124).
     
    14. The electrode assembly (10, 110) of claim 1, wherein the radially extending passageways (38, 56, 78) of the distal member (20), first manifold (22), and second manifold (24, 124) are each at least partially disposed along a fluid pathway that extends radially from the inner cavity (54) to the second manifold outer surface (74).
     
    15. The electrode assembly (10, 110) of claim 1, wherein a portion of the distal member outer surface (34) is disposed radially inwardly from the second manifold outer surface (74).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Gespülte Ablationselektrodenbaugruppe (10, 110), enthaltend:

    ein entferntes Element (20) mit einer Längsachse, die diesem zugeordnet ist und aufweist:

    einen nahen Endbereich (28),

    einen entfernten Endbereich (26),

    eine Entferntes-Element-Außenfläche (34),

    eine Entferntes-Element-Innenfläche (36), und

    wenigstens einen sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangsweg (38), der sich von der Entferntes-Element-Innenfläche (36) zu der Entferntes-Element-Außenfläche (34) erstreckt;

    einen ersten Verteiler (22), der aufweist:

    eine Erster-Verteiler-Außenfläche (52),

    eine Innenaussparung (54), und

    wenigstens einen sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangsweg (56), der sich von der Innenaussparung (54) zu der Erster-Verteiler-Außenfläche (52) erstreckt;

    einen zweiten Verteiler (24, 124), der aufweist:

    eine Zweiter-Verteiler-Außenfläche (74)

    eine Zweiter-Verteiler-Innenfläche (76), die radial einwärts von der Zweiter-Verteiler-Außenfläche (74) angeordnet ist, und

    wenigstens einen sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangsweg (78, der sich von der Zweiter-Verteiler-Innenfläche (76) zu der Zweiter-Verteiler-Außenfläche (74) erstreckt,

    wobei die Erster-Verteiler-Außenfläche (52) radial einwärts von dem zweiten Verteiler und der Entferntes-Element-Außenflächen (74, 34) angeordnet ist.


     
    2. Elektrodenbaugruppe (10, 110) nach Anspruch 1, wobei wenigstens ein Bereich des ersten Verteilers (22) relativ zu wenigstens einem Bereich des entfernten Elements (22) innenliegend angeordnet ist.
     
    3. Elektrodenbaugruppe (10, 110) nach Anspruch 1, wobei wenigstens ein Bereich des zweiten Verteilers (24, 124) relativ zu wenigstens einem Bereich des entfernten Elements (20) außenliegend angeordnet ist.
     
    4. Elektrodenbaugruppe (10, 110) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der erste Verteiler (22) eine thermische Isolierung ist, die eine reduzierte thermische Leitfähigkeit aufweist.
     
    5. Elektrodenbaugruppe (10,110) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der zweite Verteiler (24, 124) eine thermische Isolierung ist, die eine reduzierte thermische Leitfähigkeit aufweist.
     
    6. Elektrodenbaugruppe (10, 110) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der wenigstens eine sich radial erstreckende Durchgangsweg (56) des ersten Verteilers (22), der wenigstens eine sich radial erstreckende Durchgangsweg (78) des zweiten Verteilers (24, 124) und der wenigstens eine sich radial erstreckende Durchgangsweg (38) des entfernten Elements (20) radial ausgerichtet sind.
     
    7. Elektrodenbaugruppe (10, 110) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der zweite Verteiler (24, 124) eine Vielzahl von sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangswegen (78) aufweist, wobei jeder der sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangswege (78) des zweiten Verteilers (24, 124) sich von der Zweiter-Verteiler-Innenfläche (76) zu der Zweiter-Verteiler-Außenfläche (74) erstreckt.
     
    8. Elektrodenbaugruppe (10, 110) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das entfernte Element (20) eine Vielzahl von sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangswegen (38) aufweist, wobei jeder der sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangswege (38) des entfernten Elements (20) sich von der Entferntes-Element-Innenfläche (36) zu der Entferntes-Element-Außenfläche (34) erstreckt.
     
    9. Elektrodenbaugruppe (10, 110) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der erste Verteiler (22) eine Vielzahl von sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangswegen (56) aufweist, wobei jeder aus der Vielzahl von sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangswegen (56) des ersten Verteilers (22) sich von der Innenaussparung (54) an einem ersten Ende (58) jedes aus der Vielzahl der sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangswege (56) zu der Erster-Verteiler-Außenfläche (52) an einem zweiten Ende (60) jedes aus der Vielzahl der sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangswege (56) erstreckt.
     
    10. Elektrodenbaugruppe (10, 110) nach Anspruch 9, wobei der erste Verteiler (22) ferner einen sich axial erstreckenden Durchgangsweg (62) aufweist, der sich von der Innenaussparung (54) an einem ersten Ende (64) des sich axial erstreckenden Durchgangswegs (62) zu einem entfernten Ende (66) des ersten Verteilers (22) an einem zweiten Ende (68) des sich axial erstreckenden Durchgangswegs (62) erstreckt, bevorzugt wobei wenigstens ein Bereich des ersten Endes (58) jedes aus der Vielzahl von sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangswegen (56) des ersten Verteilers (22) und wenigstens einen Bereich des ersten Endes (64) des sich axial erstreckenden Durchgangswegs (62) des ersten Verteilers (22) sich an ungefähr derselben Position entlang der Längsachse (44) des entfernten Elements (20) befinden.
     
    11. Elektrodenbaugruppe (10, 110) nach Anspruch 1, wobei eine Platte (70) im Inneren an wenigstens einem des sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangswegs (56) des ersten Verteilers (22), des sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangswegs (78) des zweiten Verteilers (24, 124) oder des sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangswegs (38) des entfernten Elements (20) montiert ist, wobei die Platte (70) eine Öffnung (72) zum Messen eines Fluidstroms aufweist.
     
    12. Elektrodenbaugruppe (110) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der zweite Verteiler (124) aufweist:

    einen ersten Bereich (180), der einen im Allgemeinen ringförmigen Ring mit einem ersten Außendurchmesser (D1) aufweist, wobei der wenigstens eine sich radial erstreckende Durchgangsweg (178) in dem ersten Bereich (180) angeordnet ist; und

    einen zweiten Bereich (182), der einen sich radial nach außen erstreckenden Flansch mit einem zweiten Außendurchmesser (D2) aufweist, wobei der zweite Außendurchmesser (D2) größer als der erste Außendurchmesser (D1) ist.


     
    13. Elektrodenbaugruppe (110) nach Anspruch 12, ferner enthaltend ein Strömungselement (184), das einen im Allgemeinen ringförmigen Ring aufweist, der ein nahes Ende (186) und ein entferntes Ende (188) aufweist, wobei das nahe Ende (186) des Strömungselements (184) das entfernte Element (20) ergreift und das entfernte Ende (188) des Strömungselements (184) eine Umfangsirrigationsöffnung (190) zwischen dem Strömungselement (184) und dem zweiten Verteiler (124) definiert.
     
    14. Elektrodenbaugruppe (10, 110) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die sich radial erstreckenden Durchgangswege (38, 56, 78) des entfernten Elements (20), des ersten Verteilers (22) und des zweiten Verteilers (24, 124) jeweils wenigstens teilweise entlang eines Fluidwegs angeordnet sind, der sich radial von der Innenaussparung (54) zu der Zweiter-Verteiler-Außenfläche (74) erstreckt.
     
    15. Elektrodenbaugruppe (10, 110) nach Anspruch 1, wobei ein Bereich der Entferntes-Element-Außenfläche (34) radial einwärts von der Zweiter-Verteiler-Außenfläche (74) angeordnet ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Ensemble d'électrodes d'ablation irriguées (10, 110) comprenant :

    un élément distal (20) ayant un axe longitudinal associé à celui-ci et comprenant :

    une partie d'extrémité proximale (28),

    une partie d'extrémité distale (26),

    une surface externe d'élément distal (34),

    une surface interne d'élément distal (36), et

    au moins un passage s'étendant radialement (38) qui s'étend de la surface interne d'élément distal (36) à la surface externe d'élément distal (34) ;

    un premier collecteur (22) comprenant :

    une surface externe de premier collecteur (52),

    une cavité interne (54), et

    au moins un passage s'étendant radialement (56) qui s'étend de la cavité interne (54) à la surface externe de premier collecteur (52) ;

    un deuxième collecteur (24, 124) comprenant :

    une surface externe de deuxième collecteur (74),

    une surface interne de deuxième collecteur (76) disposée radialement vers l'intérieur à partir de la surface externe de deuxième collecteur (74), et

    au moins un passage s'étendant radialement (78) qui s'étend de la surface interne de deuxième collecteur (76) à la surface externe de deuxième collecteur (74),

    dans lequel la surface externe de premier collecteur (52) est disposée radialement vers l'intérieur à partir de la surface externe de deuxième collecteur (74) et de la surface externe d'élément distal (34).


     
    2. Ensemble d'électrodes (10, 110) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel au moins une partie du premier collecteur (22) est disposée intérieurement par rapport à au moins une partie de l'élément distal (20).
     
    3. Ensemble d'électrodes (10, 110) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel au moins une partie du deuxième collecteur (24, 124) est disposée extérieurement par rapport à au moins une partie de l'élément distal (20).
     
    4. Ensemble d'électrodes (10, 110) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le premier collecteur (22) est un isolant thermique ayant une conductivité thermique réduite.
     
    5. Ensemble d'électrodes (10, 110) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le deuxième collecteur (24, 124) est un isolant thermique ayant une conductivité thermique réduite.
     
    6. Ensemble d'électrodes (10, 110) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit au moins un passage s'étendant radialement (56) du premier collecteur (22), ledit au moins un passage s'étendant radialement (78) du deuxième collecteur (24,124) et ledit au moins un passage s'étendant radialement (38) de l'élément distal (20) sont alignés radialement.
     
    7. Ensemble d'électrodes (10, 110) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le deuxième collecteur (24, 124) comprend une pluralité de passages s'étendant radialement (78), chacun des passages s'étendant radialement (78) du deuxième collecteur (24, 124) s'étendant de la surface interne de deuxième collecteur (76) à la surface externe de deuxième collecteur (74).
     
    8. Ensemble d'électrodes (10, 110) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'élément distal (20) comprend une pluralité de passages s'étendant radialement (38), chacun des passages s'étendant radialement (38) de l'élément distal (20) s'étendant de la surface interne d'élément distal (36) à la surface externe d'élément distal (34).
     
    9. Ensemble d'électrodes (10, 110) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le premier collecteur (22) comprend une pluralité de passages s'étendant radialement (56), chacun de la pluralité de passages s'étendant radialement (56) du premier collecteur (22) s'étendant de la cavité interne (54) à une première extrémité (58) de chacun de la pluralité de passages s'étendant radialement (56) à la surface externe de premier collecteur (52) à une deuxième extrémité (60) de chacun de la pluralité de passages s'étendant radialement (56).
     
    10. Ensemble d'électrodes (10, 110) selon la revendication 9, dans lequel le premier collecteur (22) comprend en outre un passage s'étendant axialement (62) s'étendant de la cavité interne (54) à une première extrémité (64) du passage s'étendant axialement (62) à une extrémité distale (66) du premier collecteur (22) à une deuxième extrémité (68) du passage s'étendant axialement (62), de préférence dans lequel au moins une partie de la première extrémité (58) de chacun de la pluralité de passages s'étendant radialement (56) du premier collecteur (22) et au moins une partie de la première extrémité (64) du passage s'étendant axialement (62) du premier collecteur (22) sont situées approximativement à la même position le long de l'axe longitudinal (44) de l'élément distal (20).
     
    11. Ensemble d'électrodes (10, 110) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel une plaque (70) est montée à l'intérieur d'au moins un des passages s'étendant radialement (56) du premier collecteur (22), du passage s'étendant radialement (78) de deuxième collecteur (24, 124) ou du passage s'étendant radialement (38) de l'élément distal (20), dans lequel la plaque (70) comprend une ouverture (72) pour le dosage d'écoulement de fluide.
     
    12. Ensemble d'électrodes (110) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le deuxième collecteur (124) comprend :

    une première partie (180) comprenant une bague généralement annulaire avec un premier diamètre externe (D1), dans lequel ledit au moins un passage s'étendant radialement (178) est disposé dans la première partie (180) ; et

    une deuxième partie (182) comprenant une bride s'étendant radialement vers l'extérieur avec un deuxième diamètre externe (D2), dans lequel le deuxième diamètre externe (D2) est supérieur au premier diamètre externe (D1).


     
    13. Ensemble d'électrodes (110) selon la revendication 12, comprenant en outre un élément d'écoulement (184) comprenant une bague généralement annulaire ayant une extrémité proximale (186) et une extrémité distale (188), dans lequel l'extrémité proximale (186) de l'élément d'écoulement (184) engage l'élément distal (20) et l'extrémité distale (188) de l'élément d'écoulement (184) définit un orifice d'irrigation circonférentiel (190) entre l'élément d'écoulement (184) et le deuxième collecteur (124).
     
    14. Ensemble d'électrodes (10, 110) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les passages s'étendant radialement (38, 56, 78) de l'élément distal (20), du premier collecteur (22) et du deuxième collecteur (24, 124) sont chacun au moins partiellement disposés le long d'un chemin de fluide qui s'étend radialement de la cavité interne (54) à la surface externe de deuxième collecteur (74).
     
    15. Ensemble d'électrodes (10, 110) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel une partie de la surface externe d'élément distal (34) est disposée radialement vers l'intérieur à partir de la surface externe de deuxième collecteur (74).
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description