Institute of Biomedical Engineering

Non-invasive atrial rotors and focal sources characterization using ECG

  • Rotational activities (also called rotors) and focal activities have always been considered in literature as the mechanisms that drive and sustain atrial fibrillation (AF). It is claimed that identifying the presence of these mechanisms may be fundamental in planning the best treatment to heal the patient. Today, the most common treatment for atrial fibrillation is ablation therapy. Therefore, knowing where these mechanisms are located in the atria and which is the mechanism that is sustaining AF could directly guide ablation therapy. Methods have also been invented that use cardiac signals to identify the presence of such mechanisms (see for example FIRMA technique). 

    So far, however, these two different but similar mechanisms have always been identified as a single class, without making any distinction between them. What this project wants to do is to verify whether these two mechanisms can be recognized individually using only non-invasive signals such as ECG. This could lead to better support for physicians, who could plan the intervention even better knowing exactly what mechanism is driving AF. To do this, rotors and focal sources will be simulated in the same positions to have a direct comparison and be sure of the ground truth of the mechanisms. ECG signals will be extracted from the simulations and different biosignal analysis methods will be applied to the signals to extract features and identify any differences between the two mechanisms.