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Dangerous arrhythmia analyzed in a heartbeat
Date:9/1/2011

ical engineering lab, and Phillip S. Cuculich, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the School of Medicine, contributed equally to the study and are members of CBAC, an interdisciplinary center whose goals are to study heart rhythms and their disorders (cardiac arrhythmias) and to develop new tools for their diagnosis and treatment in the prevention of disabilities and cardiac death.

The other co-authors are Junjie Zhang; Kavit A. Desouza, MD; Ramya Vijayakumar; Jane Chen, MD; Mitchell N. Faddis, MD, PhD; Bruce Lindsay, MD; and Timothy W. Smith, DPhil, MD.

Saves hours of mapping

The heart, among other things, is an electric marvel. The 25 VT patients were scheduled to undergo catheter ablation to correct their electrical defects, but first underwent ECGI imaging.

The imaging correctly found the VT origin and categorized the two VT mechanisms, one called focal, comprising a mass of abnormal cells, the other re-entry, in which excitation waves become circular, forming a closed loop called a re-entry circuit.

In each mechanism, the heart's pacemaking activity is seized from its natural, normal site in the sinus node. Rudy and his collaborators showed that the abnormal excitation patterns of VT often began in scar tissues that were tell-tale signs of previous heart attacks.

The study is a breakthrough in the analysis and treatment of arrhythmias in general VT specifically because it is noninvasive, fast and can map electrical activity on the entire heart surface in one heartbeat.

Current noninvasive diagnosis of heart rhythms relies on the conventional ECG, which employs 12 electrodes on the body surface.

The ECG can only provide general information about the global heart electrical activity. To locate the source of VT in the heart, a patient must endure up to several hours of invasive mapping using an electrode-carrying catheter that is inserted into the heart and moved as a roving probe
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Contact: Diana Lutz
dlutz@wustl.edu
314-935-5272
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert  

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