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A model using finite-element analysis (FEA) has been developed to calculate the temperature rise in tissue from intracardiac ultrasound ablation catheters and to predict if this temperature rise is adequate for producing a lesion in the tissue. In the model, acoustic fields are simulated with Field II, and heat transfer is modeled with an FEA program. To validate the model, we compare its results to experimental results from an integrated, real-time three-dimensional (3-D) ultrasound imaging and ultrasound ablation catheter. The ultrasound ablation transducer is a ring transmitting at 10 MHz capable of producing an acoustic intensity of 16 W/cm/sup 2/. It was used to ablate four lesions in tissue, and temperature rise as a function of time was monitored by embedded thermocouples. The average absolute difference between final temperatures predicted by FEA and those measured is 1.95 /spl plusmn/ 0.72/spl deg/C. Additionally, model and experimental lesion size are in good agreement. The model then is used to design a new ultrasound catheter with a 7.5 MHz linear phased array for ablation. Eight designs are modeled, and acoustic intensity, temperature rise, and ablation ability are compared.