A Method to Guide Treatment of Heart Rhythm Disorders

Case ID:
Disclosure Date:
Unmet need:
Catheter ablation is the standard of care to treat heart rhythm disorder, such as atrial fibrillation. Catheter ablation is performed uniformly in the same way in all patients, but success rate is marginal at around 60%. This computational method is novel because it provides personalized assessment based on biological signals of each patient and identifies optimal targets of catheter ablation. Personalized catheter ablation is expected to improve the success rate.

Problem Solved:
A human heart consists of a network of approximately five billion cardiomyocytes, connected by a lattice-like structure of low-resistance cell-to-cell gap junctions. The behaviors of individual cardiomyocytes on this network are orchestrated by electrical conduction between adjacent cells through these gap junctions. When the heart is functioning properly this cell-to-cell electrical propagation results in the heart beating normally. However, this process can break down during a phenomenon known as cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)---a leading cause of sudden death in the world today. Understanding when and why this electrical-transmission process breaks down is vitally important in developing actionable and effective treatment protocols. However, conventional electrocardiographic metrics simply measure the sequence of electrical excitations in small local regions of the heart, generally observed with a 64-lead basket catheter, and effectively ignore cell-to-cell interactions. This means that traditional measures cannot quantify how arrhythmia impacts cell-to-cell wave propagation and the breakdown thereof, making it a real challenge to properly diagnose and treat cardiac arrhythmia.

Stage of Development:
The research team have constructed a computational method to process biological signals from individual human hearts during percutaneous cardiac catheterization.

Associated Publications:
Heart Rhythm 2013

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Mark Maloney
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