In a first in man clinical trial successful treatment has been performed in Innsbruck and Linz. The Tyrolean company AFreeze has developed a novel cardiac cryoablation catheter for permanent treatment of atrial fibrillation. The device should ease and speed up complicated cardiac interventions.
The member of the Tyrolean Regional Government Patrizia Zoller-Frischauf states that the success of AFreeze clearly demonstrates that Tyrol is an excellent location for high technology start-up companies. Tyrol offers public funding, an optimal infrastructure for science and research and its universities educate highly qualified personnel.
In Austria about 150.000 people are affected by atrial fibrillation. In the world about 14 millions of people suffer from this widespread disease. The number of incidences increases every year. Dr. Markus Stühlinger, the principal investigator of the clinical trial, explains that local electrical discharge in the heart tissue triggers palpitations. This also increases the risk for stroke. If pharmacological treatment fails, so far cardiac tissue has been treated by spot like application of electric current. This intervention was complicated and often ineffective defining the need for the development of new technologies.