Convergent uses the company’s EPi-Sense system. Its epicardial-sensing electrodes allow both electrophysiologists (EPs) and cardiothoracic surgeons to sense and record cardiac signals. It can be used for the coagulation of cardiac tissue using radiofrequency (RF) energy.
According to BTIG analyst Marie Thibault, both EPs on Wednesday’s webinar — Dr. Zayd Eldadah from MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute in Washington, D.C. and Dr. Eric Buch from UCLA Health — believe the patient population for the procedure is large and can extend beyond its current use for long-standing persistent AFib. The FDA approved EPi-Sense for treating long-standing persistent AFib in April 2021.
Thibault said it may take time to start and ramp a program but the EPs expect volume to increase “significantly.” Dr. Buch is performing around four procedures per month and expects a four-fold increase in the next two years, she wrote.
“Increasing awareness, overcoming skepticism, and building referral networks are all key factors for a successful program,” Thibault said.
Both doctors said their own Convergent clinical outcomes come in stronger than “already-impressive” results from the Converge trial. Thibault continues to consider AtriCure a “Buy” option.
“While we acknowledge Convergent adoption has been gradual, this discussion underscored the enthusiasm of current users,” she wrote. “We continue to expect an acceleration in Convergent revenue later this year and in 2023.”
Converge trial, EP experiences support AtriCure EPi-Sense
EPi-Sense demonstrated superiority compared to endocardial catheter ablation alone in the Converge clinical trial. It demonstrated a 29% absolute difference in efficacy at 12 months (78% relative improvement). The therapy produced an absolute difference of 35% at 18 months (110% relative improvement).
Afib burden decreased by 33% in the EPi-Sense group at 12 months and fell to 37% at 18 months. The Converge trial proved that AtriCure’s Hybrid AF therapy offers durable, sustained efficacy, the company said in 2021.
Needham analyst Mike Matson said investors had been “frustrated” by the slow initial uptake for EPi-Sense. However, he called the webinar “enlightening.”
“[The webinar] shed light on why growth has been slow and why it’s premature in our view to write off Convergent,” Matson wrote.
He added that AtriCure shares “would react favorably” to strong sequential minimally invasive ablation growth over a quarter or two.