Since it is hard to tell which cells are causing the abnormal rhythm, physicians currently use an electrical probe to test several areas over the whole surface of the heart for the crucial organizing center. The process is very crude, usually performed non-invasively through a catheter, and can last up to eight hours or more.
Trayanova is developing a new individualized methodology for this procedure, wherein heart models of patients are constructed from clinical images. Through a model of the patient's heart constructed from a noninvasive MRI scan, doctors can better navigate the probe to the location of the organizing center as determined by the model. Such guided delivery of the ablation could make it more precise, leading to an improvement of therapy.
Trayanova and her group were able to validate their models by replicating and retrospectively predicting clinical results in both successful and failed cases of ablations. Furthermore, they were able to successfully predict the optimal ablation site, which not only terminated the arrhythmia, but whose lesion size was also smaller than those used in clinical procedures.
Analyzing the causes of heart rhythm disorders:
Trayanova and her group are trying to determine what processes trigger abnormal heart rhythm, particularly when people age. It is known that fibrosis, which is the growth of excess connective tissue among cardiac cells, may contribute to arrhythmias by altering or inhibiting conduction. But the exact process is not well understood.
Using human heart images from clinical samples, Trayanova's computational cardiology lab has constructed a model of the human atrium, which
|Contact: Karthika Muthukumaraswamy|
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics