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St. Jude Medical: Dealing Its Way to the Top in AF

Executive Summary

St. Jude Medical's recent announcement that it will acquire Endocardial Solutions represents the latest step in St. Jude's aggressive strategy to become a dominant player in the atrial fibrillation (AF) market.

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AF Ablation: Progress & Promise

Tremendous progress has been made in the field of ablation therapy for atrial fibrillation (AF) over the past several years, and numerous device-based technologies to address this underserved and rapidly growing patient population are under clinical development. Minimally invasive, percutaneous AF ablation has evolved rapidly as well, although the procedure remains very challenging and limited to highly experienced centers.

Tapping the Potential of Atrial Fibrillation Devices

A solid foundation has been laid in the field of devices for atrial fibrillation; clinical trials have underscored the efficacy of cardiac ablation devices compared to drugs, reimbursement is in place for both surgical and catheter-based ablation procedures, and large companies have invested heavily in the technologies, validating the entire field. Early devices on the market are bringing in some revenues for their developers, but much remains to be done before atrial fibrillation becomes the multi-billion market everyone talks about. The biggest challenge that lies ahead: clinical trials, for today, all ablation devices are used off-label for atrial fibrillation.

Tapping the Potential of Atrial Fibrillation Devices

A solid foundation has been laid in the field of devices for atrial fibrillation; clinical trials have underscored the efficacy of cardiac ablation devices compared to drugs, reimbursement is in place for both surgical and catheter-based ablation procedures, and large companies have invested heavily in the technologies, validating the entire field. Early devices on the market are bringing in some revenues for their developers, but much remains to be done before atrial fibrillation becomes the multi-billion market everyone talks about. The biggest challenge that lies ahead: clinical trials, for today, all ablation devices are used off-label for atrial fibrillation.

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