In this experiment, we have employed real-time ultrasound (US) imaging to determine the complete interaction between the ablation electrode and tissue to accurately estimate contact, which will help to better understand the effect of catheter pose and position relative to the tissue. By simultaneously recording tracked position, force reading and US image of the ablation catheter, the differing material properties of polyvinyl alcohol cryogel phantoms are shown to produce varying amounts of tissue depression and contact area (implying varying lesion quality) for equivalent force readings. We have shown that the elastic modulus significantly affects the surface-contact area between the catheter and tissue at any level of contact force. Thus we provide evidence that a prescribed level of catheter force may not always provide sufficient contact area to produce an effective ablation lesion in the prescribed ablation time.
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