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New Columbia engineering technique diagnoses non-periodic arrhythmias in a single heartbeat
Date:12/8/2011

New York, NYDecember 7, 2011Thanks to a new study from Columbia Engineering School, doctors may now be able to diagnose in their offices non-periodic arrhythmiasnoninvasively and at low costwithin a single heartbeat. Non-periodic arrhythmias include atrial and ventricular fibrillation, which are associated with severely abnormal heart rhythm that can in some cases be life-threatening.

Using Electromechanical Wave Imaging (EWI), a technique recently developed at Columbia Engineering, the researchers sent unfocused ultrasound waves through the closed chest and into the heart. They were able to capture fast-frame-rate images that enabled themfor the first timeto map transient events such as the electromechanical activation that occurs over a few tens of milliseconds while also imaging the entire heart within a single beat. The Columbia Engineering study was recently published in IOPscience ("Electromechanical wave imaging for arrhythmias," Phys Med Biol. 2011 Nov 21;56(22):L1-L11, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22024555.

"We are very excited about extending the capabilities of our new technique," says Elisa Konofagou, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and radiology at Columbia University's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. "With EWI, doctors now won't have to use electrodes to detect and localize those unpredictable and potentially deadly arrhythmias and they'll be able to do this at the point of care, not only in a dedicated, interventional procedure room."

She adds that, "For the first time, EWI can be implemented without relying on multiple periodic heartbeats for the high temporal resolution imaging required. A single heartbeat, whether periodic or not, will suffice by employing tailored beamforming sequences and signal processing techniques."

Konofagou explains that the heart is essentially an electromagnetic pump that mu
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Contact: Holly Evarts
holly@engineering.columbia.edu
212-854-3206
Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert

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