Acute ischemic stroke is a major health problem in Western countries with a high mortality rate and a high risk for permanent disabilities. In 2018, a cohort study with 113 patients showed a preliminary evidence of neuroprotective effect of selective therapeutic hypothermia. In that study, intra- arterial, time-limited blood cooling by means of infusion of cold saline in combination with endovascular mechanical thrombectomy significantly reduced the final infarct volume. A recently developed catheter system enables to combine endovascular blood cooling and thrombectomy using the same endovascular access. By using the penumbral perfusion via leptomeningeal collaterals, the catheter aims at enabling a cold reperfusion, which mitigates the risk of a reperfusion injury. However, cerebral circulation is highly patient-specific and can vary greatly. Since direct measurement of remaining perfusion and temperature decrease induced by the catheter is not possible without additional harm to the patient, computational modeling provides an alternative to gain knowledge about resulting cerebral temperature decrease. In this work, we present a brain temperature model with a realistic division into gray and white matter and consideration of spatially resolved perfusion. Furthermore, it includes detailed anatomy of cerebral circulation with possibility of personalizing on base of real patient anatomy. For evaluation of catheter performance in terms of cold reperfusion and to analyze its general performance, we calculated the decrease in brain temperature in case of a large vessel occlusion in the middle cerebral artery (MCA) for different scenarios of cerebral arterial anatomy. Congenital arterial variations in the circle of Willis had a distinct influence on the cooling effect and the resulting spatial temperature distribution before vessel recanalization. Independent of the branching configurations, the model predicted a cold reperfusion due to a strong temperature decrease after recanalization (1.4-2.2°C after 25min of cooling, recanalization after 20min of cooling). Our model illustrates the effectiveness of endovascular cooling in combination with mechanical thrombectomy and serves as an adequate substitute for temperature measurement in a clinical setting in assence of direct intraparenchymal temperature probes.
Identification of atrial sites that perpetuate atrial fibrillation (AF), and ablation thereof terminates AF, is challenging. We hypothesized that specific electrogram (EGM) characteristics identify AF-termination sites (AFTS). Twenty-one patients in whom low-voltage-guided ablation after pulmonary vein isolation terminated clinical persistent AF were included. Patients were included if short RF-delivery for <8sec at a given atrial site was associated with acute termination of clinical persistent AF. EGM-characteristics at 21 AFTS, 105 targeted sites without termination and 105 non-targeted control sites were analyzed. Alteration of EGM-characteristics by local fibrosis was evaluated in a three-dimensional high resolution (100 µm)-computational AF model. AFTS demonstrated lower EGM-voltage, higher EGM-cycle-length-coverage, shorter AF-cycle-length and higher pattern consistency than control sites (0.49 ± 0.39 mV vs. 0.83 ± 0.76 mV, p < 0.0001; 79 ± 16% vs. 59 ± 22%, p = 0.0022; 173 ± 49 ms vs. 198 ± 34 ms, p = 0.047; 80% vs. 30%, p < 0.01). Among targeted sites, AFTS had higher EGM-cycle-length coverage, shorter local AF-cycle-length and higher pattern consistency than targeted sites without AF-termination (79 ± 16% vs. 63 ± 23%, p = 0.02; 173 ± 49 ms vs. 210 ± 44 ms, p = 0.002; 80% vs. 40%, p = 0.01). Low voltage (0.52 ± 0.3 mV) fractionated EGMs (79 ± 24 ms) with delayed components in sinus rhythm ('atrial late potentials', respectively 'ALP') were observed at 71% of AFTS. EGMs recorded from fibrotic areas in computational models demonstrated comparable EGM-characteristics both in simulated AF and sinus rhythm. AFTS may therefore be identified by locally consistent, fractionated low-voltage EGMs with high cycle-length-coverage and rapid activity in AF, with low-voltage, fractionated EGMs with delayed components/ 'atrial late potentials' (ALP) persisting in sinus rhythm.
The solution of the inverse problem of electrocardiology allows the reconstruction of the spatial distribution of the electrical activity of the heart from the body surface electrocardiogram (electrocardiographic imaging, ECGI). ECGI using the equivalent dipole layer (EDL) model has shown to be accurate for cardiac activation times. However, validation of this method to determine repolarization times is lacking. In the present study, we determined the accuracy of the EDL model in reconstructing cardiac repolarization times, and assessed the robustness of the method under less ideal conditions (addition of noise and errors in tissue conductivity). A monodomain model was used to determine the transmembrane potentials in three different excitation-repolarization patterns (sinus beat and ventricular ectopic beats) as the gold standard. These were used to calculate the body surface ECGs using a finite element model. The resulting body surface electrograms (ECGs) were used as input for the EDL-based inverse reconstruction of repolarization times. The reconstructed repolarization times correlated well (COR > 0.85) with the gold standard, with almost no decrease in correlation after adding errors in tissue conductivity of the model or noise to the body surface ECG. Therefore, ECGI using the EDL model allows adequate reconstruction of cardiac repolarization times. Graphical abstract Validation of electrocardiographic imaging for repolarization using forward calculated body surface ECGs from simulated activation-repolarization sequences.
OBJECTIVE: Atrial flutter (AFl) is a common arrhythmia that can be categorized according to different self-sustained electrophysiological mechanisms. The non-invasive discrimination of such mechanisms would greatly benefit ablative methods for AFl therapy as the driving mechanisms would be described prior to the invasive procedure, helping to guide ablation. In the present work, we sought to implement recurrence quantification analysis (RQA) on 12-lead ECG signals from a computational framework to discriminate different electrophysiological mechanisms sustaining AFl. METHODS: 20 different AFl mechanisms were generated in 8 atrial models and were propagated into 8 torso models via forward solution, resulting in 1,256 sets of 12-lead ECG signals. Principal component analysis was applied on the 12-lead ECGs, and six RQA-based features were extracted from the most significant principal component scores in two different approaches: individual component RQA and spatial reduced RQA. RESULTS: In both approaches, RQA-based features were significantly sensitive to the dynamic structures underlying different AFl mechanisms. Hit rate as high as 67.7% was achieved when discriminating the 20 AFl mechanisms. RQA-based features estimated for a clinical sample suggested high agreement with the results found in the computational framework. CONCLUSION: RQA has been shown an effective method to distinguish different AFl electrophysiological mechanisms in a non-invasive computational framework. A clinical 12-lead ECG used as proof of concept showed the value of both the simulations and the methods. SIGNIFICANCE: The non-invasive discrimination of AFl mechanisms helps to delineate the ablation strategy, reducing time and resources required to conduct invasive cardiac mapping and ablation procedures.
L. Azzolin, L. Dedè, A. Gerbi, and A. Quarteroni. Effect of fibre orientation and bulk modulus on the electromechanical modelling of human ventricles. In Mathematics in Engineering, vol. 2(4) , pp. 614-638, 2020
This work concerns the mathematical and numerical modeling of the heart. The aim is to enhance the understanding of the cardiac function in both physiological and pathological conditions. Along this road, a challenge arises from the multi-scale and multi-physics nature of the mathematical problem at hand. In this paper, we propose an electromechanical model that, in bi-ventricle geometries, combines the monodomain equation, the Bueno-Orovio minimal ionic model, and the Holzapfel-Ogden strain energy function for the passive myocardial tissue modelling together with the active strain approach combined with a model for the transmurally heterogeneous thickening of the myocardium. Since the distribution of the electric signal is dependent on the fibres orientation of the ventricles, we use a Laplace-Dirichlet Rule-Based algorithm to determine the myocardial fibres and sheets configuration in the whole bi-ventricle. In this paper, we study the influence of different fibre directions and incompressibility constraint and penalization on the compressibility of the material (bulk modulus) on the pressure-volume relation simulating a full heart beat. The coupled electromechanical problem is addressed by means of a fully segregated scheme. The numerical discretization is based on the Finite Element Method for the spatial discretization and on Backward Differentiation Formulas for the time discretization. The arising non-linear algebraic system coming from application of the implicit scheme is solved through the Newton method. Numerical simulations are carried out in a patient-specific biventricle geometry to highlight the most relevant results of both electrophysiology and mechanics and to compare them with physiological data and measurements. We show how various fibre configurations and bulk modulus modify relevant clinical quantities such as stroke volume, ejection fraction and ventricle contractility.
The electrophysiological mechanism of the sinus node automaticity was previously considered exclusively regulated by the so-called "funny current". However, parallel investigations increasingly emphasized the importance of the Ca-homeostasis and Na/Ca exchanger (NCX). Recently, increasing experimental evidence, as well as insight through mechanistic modeling demonstrates the crucial role of the exchanger in sinus node pacemaking. NCX had a key role in the exciting story of discovery of sinus node pacemaking mechanisms, which recently settled with a consensus on the coupled-clock mechanism after decades of debate. This review focuses on the role of the Na/Ca exchanger from the early results and concepts to recent advances and attempts to give a balanced summary of the characteristics of the local, spontaneous, and rhythmic Ca releases, the molecular control of the NCX and its role in the fight-or-flight response. Transgenic animal models and pharmacological manipulation of intracellular Ca concentration and/or NCX demonstrate the pivotal function of the exchanger in sinus node automaticity. We also highlight where specific hypotheses regarding NCX function have been derived from computational modeling and require experimental validation. Nonselectivity of NCX inhibitors and the complex interplay of processes involved in Ca handling render the design and interpretation of these experiments challenging.
A. Naber, D. Berwanger, and W. Nahm. Geodesic Length Measurement in Medical Images: Effect of the Discretization by the Camera Chip and Quantitative Assessment of Error Reduction Methods. In Photonics, vol. 7(3) , pp. 1-16, 2020
Afterinterventionssuchasbypasssurgeriesthevascularfunctionischeckedqualitatively and remotely by observing the blood dynamics inside the vessel via Fluorescence Angiography. This state-of-the-art method has to be improved by introducing a quantitatively measured blood flow. Previous approaches show that the measured blood flow cannot be easily calibrated against a gold standard reference. In order to systematically address the possible sources of error, we investigated the error in geodesic length measurement caused by spatial discretization on the camera chip. We used an in-silico vessel segmentation model based on mathematical functions as a ground truth for the length of vessel-like anatomical structures in the continuous space. Discretization errors for the chosen models were determined in a typical magnitude of 6%. Since this length error would propagate to an unacceptable error in blood flow measurement, counteractions need to be developed. Therefore, different methods for the centerline extraction and spatial interpolation have been tested and compared against their performance in reducing the discretization error in length measurement by re-continualization. In conclusion, the discretization error is reduced by the re-continualization of the centerline to an acceptable range. The discretization error is dependent on the complexity of the centerline and this dependency is also reduced. Thereby the centerline extraction by erosion in combination with the piecewise Bézier curve fitting performs best by reducing the error to 2.7% with an acceptable computational time.
S. Pollnow, G. Schwaderlapp, A. Loewe, and O. Dössel. Monitoring the dynamics of acute radiofrequency ablation lesion formation in thin-walled atria – a simultaneous optical and electrical mapping study. In Biomedical Engineering / Biomedizinische Technik, vol. 65(3) , pp. 327-341, 2020
Background Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a common approach to treat cardiac arrhythmias. During this intervention, numerous strategies are applied to indirectly estimate lesion formation. However, the assessment of the spatial extent of these acute injuries needs to be improved in order to create well-defined and durable ablation lesions. Methods We investigated the electrophysiological characteristics of rat atrial myocardium during an ex vivo RFA procedure with fluorescence-optical and electrical mapping. By analyzing optical data, the temporal growth of punctiform ablation lesions was reconstructed after stepwise RFA sequences. Unipolar electrograms (EGMs) were simultaneously recorded by a multielectrode array (MEA) before and after each RFA sequence. Based on the optical results, we searched for electrical features to delineate these lesions from healthy myocardium. Results Several unipolar EGM parameters were monotonically decreasing when distances between the electrode and lesion boundary were smaller than 2 mm. The negative component of the unipolar EGM [negative peak amplitude (Aneg)] vanished for distances lesser than 0.4 mm to the lesion boundary. Median peak-to-peak amplitude (Vpp) was decreased by 75% compared to baseline. Conclusion Aneg and Vpp are excellent parameters to discriminate the growing lesion area from healthy myocardium. The experimental setup opens new opportunities to investigate EGM characteristics of more complex ablation lesions.
Von wandernden Ionen über das Zellgewebe bis hin zur Aufzeichnung eines EKG: Die Softwaresimulation des menschlichen Herzens ermöglicht maßgeschneiderte Therapien. Am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) haben Forscher ein Computermodell des menschlichen Herzens entwickelt. Die Wissenschaftler sind mittlerweile sogar schon so weit, dass sie das Modell auf die individuellen Eigenschaften eines einzelnen Patienten maßschneidern können. Diese Simulation hat einen erheblichen Nutzen für die medizinische Praxis.
O. Dössel. Elektrophysiologie der Atrien - Computermodelle liefern Antworten. In Cardio News, vol. 23(4) , pp. 24-25, 2020
Background and Purpose: The exact mechanism of spontaneous pacemaking is not fully understood. Recent results suggest tight cooperation between intracellular Ca handling and sarcolemmal ion channels. An important player of this crosstalk is the Na/Ca exchanger (NCX), however, direct pharmacological evidence was unavailable so far because of the lack of a selective inhibitor. We investigated the role of the NCX current in pacemaking and analyzed the functional consequences of the I-NCX coupling by applying the novel selective NCX inhibitor ORM-10962 on the sinus node (SAN). Experimental Approach: Currents were measured by patch-clamp, Ca-transients were monitored by fluorescent optical method in rabbit SAN cells. Action potentials (AP) were recorded from rabbit SAN tissue preparations. Mechanistic computational data were obtained using the Yaniv . SAN model. Key Results: ORM-10962 (ORM) marginally reduced the SAN pacemaking cycle length with a marked increase in the diastolic Ca level as well as the transient amplitude. The bradycardic effect of NCX inhibition was augmented when the funny-current (I) was previously inhibited and , the effect of I was augmented when the Ca handling was suppressed. Conclusion and Implications: We confirmed the contribution of the NCX current to cardiac pacemaking using a novel NCX inhibitor. Our experimental and modeling data support a close cooperation between I and NCX providing an important functional consequence: these currents together establish a strong depolarization capacity providing important safety factor for stable pacemaking. Thus, after individual inhibition of I or NCX, excessive bradycardia or instability cannot be expected because each of these currents may compensate for the reduction of the other providing safe and rhythmic SAN pacemaking.
Over the last decades, computational models have been applied in in-silico simulations of the heart biomechan- ics. These models depend on input parameters. In particular, four parameters are needed for the constitutive law of Guc- cione et al., a model describing the stress-strain relation of the heart tissue. In the literature, we could find a wide range of values for these parameters. In this work, we propose an optimization framework which identifies the parameters of a constitutive law. This framework is based on experimental measurements conducted by Klotz et al.. They provide an end-diastolic pressure-volume relation- ship. We applied the proposed framework on one heart model and identified the following elastic parameters to optimally match the Klotz curve: 𝐶 = 313 Pa, 𝑏𝑓 = 17.8, 𝑏𝑡 = 7.1 and 𝑏𝑓𝑡 = 12.4. In general, this approach allows to identify optimized param- eters for a constitutive law, for a patient-specific heart geome- try. The use of optimized parameters will lead to physiological simulation results of the heart biomechanics and is therefore an important step towards applying computational models in clinical practice.
Therapeutic hypothermia (TH) is an approved neuroproctetive treatment to reduce neurological morbidity and mortality after hypoxic-ischemic damage related to cardiac arrest and neonatal asphyxia. Also in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke (AIS), which in Western countries still shows a very high mortality rate of about 25 %, selective mild TH by means of Targeted Temperature Management (TTM) could potentially decrease final infarct volume. In this respect, a novel intracarotid blood cooling catheter system has recently been developed, which allows for combined carotid blood cooling and mechanical thrombectomy (MT) and aims at selective mild TH in the affected ischemic brain (core and penumbra). Unfortunately, so far direct measurement and control of cooled cerebral temperature requires invasive or elaborate MRI-assisted measurements. Computational modeling provides unique opportunities to predict the resulting cerebral temperatures on the other hand. In this work, a simplified 3D brain model was generated and coupled with a 1D hemodynamics model to predict spatio-temporal cerebral temperature profiles using finite element modeling. Cerebral blood and tissue temperatures as well as the systemic temperature were analyzed for physiological conditions as well as for a middle cerebral artery (MCA) M1 occlusion. Furthermore, vessel recanalization and its effect on cerebral temperature was analyzed. The results show a significant influence of collateral flow on the cooling effect and are in accordance with experimental data in animals. Our model predicted a possible neuroprotective temperature decrease of 2.5 ℃ for the territory of MCA perfusion after 60 min of blood cooling, which underlines the potential of the new device and the use of TTM in case of AIS.
This article analyzes the tools and methods used in the analysis of emotions from text for the purpose of managing society. It illustrates the influence of emotions on the management of people, society and businesses processes. Their importance and the changes that occurs over time in the processes of managing society. The role that social networks plays in managing society and the methods they uses. We researched different websites and software, observed their mechanisms for data collection, its analysis and use for the purpose of managing society. In general, we analyze the most common methods, the factors that affects the choice of a particular method, their influence and based on our analy-sis, give recommendations for improving the process of analyzing emotions for the purpose of managing society.
BACKGROUND: Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) with indicator dilution may be clinically useful to measure relative lung perfusion, but there is limited information on the performance of this technique. METHODS: Thirteen pigs (50-66 kg) were anaesthetised and mechanically ventilated. Sequential changes in ventilation were made: (i) right-lung ventilation with left-lung collapse, (ii) two-lung ventilation with optimised PEEP, (iii) two-lung ventilation with zero PEEP after saline lung lavage, (iv) two-lung ventilation with maximum PEEP (20/25 cm HO to achieve peak airway pressure 45 cm HO), and (v) two-lung ventilation under unilateral pulmonary artery occlusion. Relative lung perfusion was assessed with EIT and central venous injection of saline 3%, 5%, and 10% (10 ml) during breath holds. Relative perfusion was determined by positron emission tomography (PET) using Gallium-labelled microspheres. EIT and PET were compared in eight regions of equal ventro-dorsal height (right, left, ventral, mid-ventral, mid-dorsal, and dorsal), and directional changes in regional perfusion were determined. RESULTS: Differences between methods were relatively small (95% of values differed by less than 8.7%, 8.9%, and 9.5% for saline 10%, 5%, and 3%, respectively). Compared with PET, EIT underestimated relative perfusion in dependent, and overestimated it in non-dependent, regions. EIT and PET detected the same direction of change in relative lung perfusion in 68.9-95.9% of measurements. CONCLUSIONS: The agreement between EIT and PET for measuring and tracking changes of relative lung perfusion was satisfactory for clinical purposes. Indicator-based EIT may prove useful for measuring pulmonary perfusion at bedside.
Y. Lutz, A. Loewe, S. Meckel, O. Dössel, and G. Cattaneo. Combined local hypothermia and recanalization therapy for acute ischemic stroke: Estimation of brain and systemic temperature using an energetic numerical model.. In Journal of Thermal Biology, vol. 84, pp. 316-322, 2019
Local brain hypothermia is an attractive method for providing cerebral neuroprotection for ischemic stroke patients and at the same time reducing systemic side effects of cooling. In acute ischemic stroke patients with large vessel occlusion, combination with endovascular mechanical recanalization treatment could potentially allow for an alleviation of inflammatory and apoptotic pathways in the critical phase of reperfusion. The direct cooling of arterial blood by means of an intra-carotid heat exchange catheter compatible with recanalization systems is a novel promising approach. Focusing on the concept of "cold reperfusion", we developed an energetic model to calculate the rate of temperature decrease during intra-carotid cooling in case of physiological as well as decreased perfusion. Additionally, we discussed and considered the effect and biological significance of temperature decrease on resulting brain perfusion. Our model predicted a 2 °C brain temperature decrease in 8.3, 11.8 and 26.2 min at perfusion rates of 50, 30 and 10ml100g⋅min, respectively. The systemic temperature decrease - caused by the venous blood return to the main circulation - was limited to 0.5 °C in 60 min. Our results underline the potential of catheter-assisted, intracarotid blood cooling to provide a fast and selective brain temperature decrease in the phase of vessel recanalization. This method can potentially allow for a tissue hypothermia during the restoration of the physiological flow and thus a "cold reperfusion" in the setting of mechanical recanalization.
Each heartbeat is initiated by cyclic spontaneous depolarization of cardiomyocytes in the sinus node forming the primary natural pacemaker. In patients with end-stage renal disease undergoing hemodialysis, it was recently shown that the heart rate drops to very low values before they suffer from sudden cardiac death with an unexplained high incidence. We hypothesize that the electrolyte changes commonly occurring in these patients affect sinus node beating rate and could be responsible for severe bradycardia. To test this hypothesis, we extended the Fabbri et al. computational model of human sinus node cells to account for the dynamic intracellular balance of ion concentrations. Using this model, we systematically tested the effect of altered extracellular potassium, calcium, and sodium concentrations. Although sodium changes had negligible (0.15 bpm/mM) and potassium changes mild effects (8 bpm/mM), calcium changes markedly affected the beating rate (46 bpm/mM ionized calcium without autonomic control). This pronounced bradycardic effect of hypocalcemia was mediated primarily by I attenuation due to reduced driving force, particularly during late depolarization. This, in turn, caused secondary reduction of calcium concentration in the intracellular compartments and subsequent attenuation of inward I and reduction of intracellular sodium. Our in silico findings are complemented and substantiated by an empirical database study comprising 22,501 pairs of blood samples and in vivo heart rate measurements in hemodialysis patients and healthy individuals. A reduction of extracellular calcium was correlated with a decrease of heartrate by 9.9 bpm/mM total serum calcium (p < 0.001) with intact autonomic control in the cross-sectional population. In conclusion, we present mechanistic in silico and empirical in vivo data supporting the so far neglected but experimentally testable and potentially important mechanism of hypocalcemia-induced bradycardia and asystole, potentially responsible for the highly increased and so far unexplained risk of sudden cardiac death in the hemodialysis patient population.
Changes of serum and extracellular ion concentrations occur regularly in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Recently, hypocalcemia, i.e. a decrease of the extra-cellular calcium concentration [Ca2+]o, has been suggested as potential pathomechanism contributing to the unexplained high rate of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in CKD patients. In particular, there is a hypothesis that hypocalcaemia could slow down natural pacemaking in the human sinus node to fatal degrees. Here, we address the question whether there are inter-species differences in the response of cellular sinus node pacemaking to changes of [Ca2+]o. Towards this end, we employ computational models of mouse, rabbit and human sinus node cells. The Fabbri et al. human model was updated to consider changes of intracellular ion concentrations. We identified crucial inter-species differences in the response of cellular pacemaking in the sinus node to changes of [Ca2+]o with little changes of cycle length in mouse and rabbit models (<83 ms) in contrast to a pronounced bradycardic effect in the human model (up to > 1000 ms). Our results suggest that experiments with human sinus node cells are required to investigate the potential mechanism of hypocalcaemia-induced bradycardic SCD in CKD patients and small animal models are not well suited.
Atypical atrial flutter (AFlut) is a reentrant arrhythmia which patients frequently develop after ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF). Indeed, substrate modifications during AF ablation can increase the likelihood to develop AFlut and it is clinically not feasible to reliably and sensitively test if a patient is vulnerable to AFlut. Here, we present a novel method based on personalized computational models to identify pathways along which AFlut can be sustained in an individual patient. We build a personalized model of atrial excitation propagation considering the anatomy as well as the spatial distribution of anisotropic conduction velocity and repolarization characteristics based on a combination of a priori knowledge on the population level and information derived from measurements performed in the individual patient. The fast marching scheme is employed to compute activation times for stimuli from all parts of the atria. Potential flutter pathways are then identified by tracing loops from wave front collision sites and constricting them using a geometric snake approach under consideration of the heterogeneous wavelength condition. In this way, all pathways along which AFlut can be sustained are identified. Flutter pathways can be instantiated by using an eikonal-diffusion phase extrapolation approach and a dynamic multifront fast marching simulation. In these dynamic simulations, the initial pattern eventually turns into the one driven by the dominant pathway, which is the only pathway that can be observed clinically. We assessed the sensitivity of the flutter pathway maps with respect to conduction velocity and its anisotropy. Moreover, we demonstrate the application of tailored models considering disease-specific repolarization properties (healthy, AF-remodeled, potassium channel mutations) as well as applicabiltiy on a clinical dataset. Finally, we tested how AFlut vulnerability of these substrates is modulated by exemplary antiarrhythmic drugs (amiodarone, dronedarone). Our novel method allows to assess the vulnerability of an individual patient to develop AFlut based on the personal anatomical, electrophysiological, and pharmacological characteristics. In contrast to clinical electrophysiological studies, our computational approach provides the means to identify all possible AFlut pathways and not just the currently dominant one. This allows to consider all relevant AFlut pathways when tailoring clinical ablation therapy in order to reduce the development and recurrence of AFlut.
O. Dössel. Elektrophysiologie des Vorhofs im Fokus. In Cardio News, vol. 22(11) , pp. 21-22, 2019
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most prevalent form of cardiac arrhythmia. The atrial wall thickness (AWT) can potentially improve our understanding of the mechanism underlying atrial structure that drives AF and provides important clinical information. However, most existing studies for estimating AWT rely on ruler-based measurements performed on only a few selected locations in 2D or 3D using digital calipers. Only a few studies have developed automatic approaches to estimate the AWT in the left atrium, and there are currently no methods to robustly estimate the AWT of both atrial chambers. Therefore, we have developed a computational pipeline to automatically calculate the 3D AWT across bi-atrial chambers and extensively validated our pipeline on both ex vivo and in vivo human atria data. The atrial geometry was first obtained by segmenting the atrial wall from the MRIs using a novel machine learning approach. The epicardial and endocardial surfaces were then separated using a multi-planar convex hull approach to define boundary conditions, from which, a Laplace equation was solved numerically to automatically separate bi-atrial chambers. To robustly estimate the AWT in each atrial chamber, coupled partial differential equations by coupling the Laplace solution with two surface trajectory functions were formulated and solved. Our pipeline enabled the reconstruction and visualization of the 3D AWT for bi-atrial chambers with a relative error of 8% and outperformed existing algorithms by >7%. Our approach can potentially lead to improved clinical diagnosis, patient stratification, and clinical guidance during ablation treatment for patients with AF.
Aims Chronic left atrial enlargement (LAE) increases the risk of atrial fibrillation. Electrocardiogram (ECG) criteria might provide a means to diagnose LAE and identify patients at risk; however, current criteria perform poorly. We seek to characterize the potentially differential effects of atrial dilation vs. hypertrophy on the ECG P-wave. Methods and results We predict effects on the P-wave of (i) left atrial dilation (LAD), i.e. an increase of LA cavity volume without an increase in myocardial volume, (ii) left atrial concentric hypertrophy (LACH), i.e. a thickened myocardial wall, and (iii) a combination of the two. We performed a computational study in a cohort of 72 anatomical variants, derived from four human atrial anatomies. To model LAD, pressure was applied to the LA endocardium increasing cavity volume by up to 100%. For LACH, the LA wall was thickened by up to 3.3 mm. P-waves were derived by simulating atrial excitation propagation and computing the body surface ECG. The sensitivity regarding changes beyond purely anatomical effects was analysed by altering conduction velocity by 25% in 96 additional model variants. Left atrial dilation prolonged P-wave duration (PWd) in two of four subjects; in one subject a shortening, and in the other a variable change were seen. Left atrial concentric hypertrophy, in contrast, consistently increased P-wave terminal force in lead V1 (PTF-V1) in all subjects through an enlarged amplitude while PWd was unaffected. Combined hypertrophy and dilation generally enhanced the effect of hypertrophy on PTF-V1. Conclusion Isolated LAD has moderate effects on the currently used P-wave criteria, explaining the limited utility of PWd and PTF-V1 in detecting LAE in clinical practice. In contrast, PTF-V1 may be a more sensitive indicator of LA myocardial hypertrophy.
The cardiac muscarinic receptor (M2R) regulates heart rate, in part, by modulating the acetylcholine (ACh) activated K+ current IK,ACh through dissociation of G-proteins, that in turn activate KACh channels. Recently, M2Rs were noted to exhibit intrinsic voltage sensitivity, i.e. their affinity for ligands varies in a voltage dependent manner. The voltage sensitivity of M2R implies that the affinity for ACh (and thus the ACh effect) varies throughout the time course of a cardiac electrical cycle. The aim of this study was to investigate the contribution of M2R voltage sensitivity to the rate and shape of the human sinus node action potentials in physiological and pathophysiological conditions. We developed a Markovian model of the IK,ACh modulation by voltage and integrated it into a computational model of human sinus node. We performed simulations with the integrated model varying ACh concentration and voltage sensitivity. Low ACh exerted a larger effect on IK,ACh at hyperpolarized versus depolarized membrane voltages. This led to a slowing of the pacemaker rate due to an attenuated slope of phase 4 depolarization with only marginal effect on action potential duration and amplitude. We also simulated the theoretical effects of genetic variants that alter the voltage sensitivity of M2R. Modest negative shifts in voltage sensitivity, predicted to increase the affinity of the receptor for ACh, slowed the rate of phase 4 depolarization and slowed heart rate, while modest positive shifts increased heart rate. These simulations support our hypothesis that altered M2R voltage sensitivity contributes to disease and provide a novel mechanistic foundation to study clinical disorders such as atrial fibrillation and inappropriate sinus tachycardia.
Electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI) reconstructs the electrical activity of the heart from a dense array of body-surface electrocardiograms and a patient-specific heart-torso geometry. Depending on how it is formulated, ECGI allows the reconstruction of the activation and recovery sequence of the heart, the origin of premature beats or tachycardia, the anchors/hotspots of re-entrant arrhythmias and other electrophysiological quantities of interest. Importantly, these quantities are directly and noninvasively reconstructed in a digitized model of the patient’s three-dimensional heart, which has led to clinical interest in ECGI’s ability to personalize diagnosis and guide therapy. Despite considerable development over the last decades, validation of ECGI is challenging. Firstly, results depend considerably on implementation choices, which are necessary to deal with ECGI’s ill-posed character. Secondly, it is challenging to obtain (invasive) ground truth data of high quality. In this review, we discuss the current status of ECGI validation as well as the major challenges remaining for complete adoption of ECGI in clinical practice. Specifically, showing clinical benefit is essential for the adoption of ECGI. Such benefit may lie in patient outcome improvement, workflow improvement, or cost reduction. Future studies should focus on these aspects to achieve broad adoption of ECGI, but only after the technical challenges have been solved for that specific application/pathology. We propose ‘best’ practices for technical validation and highlight collaborative efforts recently organized in this field. Continued interaction between engineers, basic scientists and physicians remains essential to find a hybrid between technical achievements, pathological mechanisms insights, and clinical benefit, to evolve this powerful technique towards a useful role in clinical practice.
S. Schuler, A. Wachter, and O. Dössel. Electrocardiographic Imaging Using a Spatio-Temporal Basis of Body Surface Potentials—Application to Atrial Ectopic Activity. In Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 9:1126, 2018
Electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI) strongly relies on a priori assumptions and additional information to overcome ill-posedness. The major challenge of obtaining good reconstructions consists in finding ways to add information that effectively restricts the solution space without violating properties of the sought solution. In this work, we attempt to address this problem by constructing a spatio-temporal basis of body surface potentials (BSP) from simulations of many focal excitations. Measured BSPs are projected onto this basis and reconstructions are expressed as linear combinations of corresponding transmembrane voltage (TMV) basis vectors. The novel method was applied to simulations of 100 atrial ectopic foci with three different conduction velocities. Three signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) and bases of six different temporal lengths were considered. Reconstruction quality was evaluated using the spatial correlation coefficient of TMVs as well as estimated local activation times (LAT). The focus localization error was assessed by computing the geodesic distance between true and reconstructed foci. Compared with an optimally parameterized Tikhonov-Greensite method, the BSP basis reconstruction increased the mean TMV correlation by up to 22, 24, and 32% for an SNR of 40, 20, and 0 dB, respectively. Mean LAT correlation could be improved by up to 5, 7, and 19% for the three SNRs. For 0 dB, the average localization error could be halved from 15.8 to 7.9 mm. For the largest basis length, the localization error was always below 34 mm. In conclusion, the new method improved reconstructions of atrial ectopic activity especially for low SNRs. Localization of ectopic foci turned out to be more robust and more accurate. Preliminary experiments indicate that the basis generalizes to some extent from the training data and may even be applied for reconstruction of non-ectopic activity.
Optical mapping is widely used as a tool to investigate cardiac electrophysiology in ex vivo preparations. Digital filtering of fluorescence-optical data is an important requirement for robust subsequent data analysis and still a challenge when processing data acquired from thin mammalian myocardium. Therefore, we propose and investigate the use of an adaptive spatio-temporal Gaussian filter for processing optical mapping signals from these kinds of tissue usually having low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). We demonstrate how filtering parameters can be chosen automatically without additional user input. For systematic comparison of this filter with standard filtering methods from the literature, we generated synthetic signals representing optical recordings from atrial myocardium of a rat heart with varying SNR. Furthermore, all filter methods were applied to experimental data from an ex vivo setup. Our developed filter outperformed the other filter methods regarding local activation time detection at SNRs smaller than 3 dB which are typical noise ratios expected in these signals. At higher SNRs, the proposed filter performed slightly worse than the methods from literature. In conclusion, the proposed adaptive spatio-temporal Gaussian filter is an appropriate tool for investigating fluorescence-optical data with low SNR. The spatio-temporal filter parameters were automatically adapted in contrast to the other investigated filters.
A. M. Janssen, D. Potyagaylo, O. Dössel, and T. F. Oostendorp. Assessment of the equivalent dipole layer source model in the reconstruction of cardiac activation times on the basis of BSPMs produced by an anisotropic model of the heart.. In Medical & biological engineering & computing, vol. 56(6) , pp. 1013-1025, 2018
Promising results have been reported in noninvasive estimation of cardiac activation times (AT) using the equivalent dipole layer (EDL) source model in combination with the boundary element method (BEM). However, the assumption of equal anisotropy ratios in the heart that underlies the EDL model does not reflect reality. In the present study, we quantify the errors of the nonlinear AT imaging based on the EDL approximation. Nine different excitation patterns (sinus rhythm and eight ectopic beats) were simulated with the monodomain model. Based on the bidomain theory, the body surface potential maps (BSPMs) were calculated for a realistic finite element volume conductor with an anisotropic heart model. For the forward calculations, three cases of bidomain conductivity tensors in the heart were considered: isotropic, equal, and unequal anisotropy ratios in the intra- and extracellular spaces. In all inverse reconstructions, the EDL model with BEM was employed: AT were estimated by solving the nonlinear optimization problem with the initial guess provided by the fastest route algorithm. Expectedly, the case of unequal anisotropy ratios resulted in larger localization errors for almost all considered activation patterns. For the sinus rhythm, all sites of early activation were correctly estimated with an optimal regularization parameter being used. For the ectopic beats, all but one foci were correctly classified to have either endo- or epicardial origin with an average localization error of 20.4 mm for unequal anisotropy ratio. The obtained results confirm validation studies and suggest that cardiac anisotropy might be neglected in clinical applications of the considered EDL-based inverse procedure.
BACKGROUND: Complementary to clinical and experimental studies, computational cardiac modeling serves to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the cardiovascular system in order to analyze dysfunction, evaluate existing, and develop novel treatment strategies. OBJECTIVES: We describe the basics of multiscale computational modeling of cardiac electrophysiology from the molecular ion channel to the whole body scale. By modeling cardiac ischemia, we illustrate how in silico experiments can contribute to our understanding of how the pathophysiological mechanisms translate into changes observed in diagnostic tools such as the electrocardiogram (ECG). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Quantitative in silico modeling spans a wide range of scales from ion channel biophysics to ECG signals. For each of the scales, a set of mathematical equations describes electrophysiology in relation to the other scales. Integration of ischemia-induced changes is performed on the ion channel, single-cell, and tissue level. This approach allows us to study how effects simulated at molecular scales translate to changes in the ECG. RESULTS: Ischemia induces action potential shortening and conduction slowing. Hence, ischemic myocardium has distinct and significant effects on propagation and repolarization of excitation, depending on the intramural extent of the ischemic region. For transmural and subendocardial ischemic regions, ST segment elevation and depression, respectively, were observed, whereas intermediate ischemic regions were found to be electrically silent (NSTEMI). CONCLUSIONS: In silico modeling contributes quantitative and mechanistic insight into fundamental ischemia-related arrhythmogenic mechanisms. In addition, computational modeling can help to translate experimental findings at the (sub-)cellular level to the organ and body context (e. g., ECG), thereby providing a thorough understanding of this routinely used diagnostic tool that may translate into optimized applications.
OBJECTIVE: Atrial tachycardia (AT) still pose a major challenge in catheter ablation. Although state-of-the-art electroanatomical mapping systems allow to acquire several thousand intracardiac electrograms (EGMs), algorithms for diagnostic analysis are mainly limited to the amplitude of the signal (voltage map) and the local activation time~(LAT map). We applied spatio-temporal analysis of EGM activity to generate maps indicating reentries and diastolic potentials, thus identifying and localizing the driving mechanism of AT. METHODS: First, the time course of active surface area (ASA) is determined during one basic cycle length (BCL). The global cycle length coverage (gCLC) reflects the relative duration within one BCL for which activity was present in each individual atrium. A local cycle length coverage (lCLC) is computed for circular sub-areas with 20mm diameter. The simultaneous active surface area sASA is determined to indicate the spatial extent of depolarizing tissue. RESULTS: Combined analysis of these spatial scales allowed to correctly identify and localize the driving mechanism: gCLC values of 100% were indicative for atria harbouring a reentrant driver. lCLC could detect micro reentries within an area of 1.651.28cm in simulated data and differentiate them against focal sources. Mid-diastolic potentials, being potential targets for catheter ablation, were identified as the areas showing confined activity based on sASA values. CONCLUSION: The concept of spatio-temporal activity analysis proved successful and correctly indicated the tachycardia mechanism in 20 simulated AT scenarios and three clinical data sets. SIGNIFICANCE: Automatic interpretation of intracardiac mapping data could help to improve the treatment strategy in complex cases of AT.
Catheter ablation is a curative therapeutic approach for atrial fibrillation (AF). Ablation of rotational sources based on basket catheter measurements has been proposed as a promising approach in patients with persistent AF to complement pulmonary vein isolation. However, clinically reported success rates are equivocal calling for a mechanistic investigation under controlled conditions. We present a computational framework to benchmark ablation strategies considering the whole cycle from excitation propagation to electrogram acquisition and processing to virtual therapy. Fibrillation was induced in a patient-specific 3D volumetric model of the left atrium, which was homogeneously remodelled to sustain reentry. The resulting extracellular potential field was sampled using models of grid catheters as well as realistically deformed basket catheters considering the specific atrial anatomy. Virtual electrograms were processed to compute phase singularity density maps to target rotor tips with up to three circular ablations. Stable rotors were successfully induced in different regions of the homogeneously remodelled atrium showing that rotors are not constrained to unique anatomical structures or locations. Phase singularity density maps correctly identified and located the rotors (deviation < 10 mm) based on catheter recordings only for sufficient resolution (inter-electrode distance = 3 mm) and proximity to the wall (< 10 mm). Targeting rotor sites with ablation did not stop reentries in the homogeneously remodelled atria independent from lesion size (1-7 mm radius), from linearly connecting lesions with anatomical obstacles, and from the number of rotors targeted sequentially (up to 3). Our results show that phase maps derived from intracardiac electrograms can be a powerful tool to map atrial activation patterns, yet they can also be misleading due to inaccurate localization of rotor tips depending on electrode resolution and distance to the wall. This should be considered to avoid ablating regions that are in fact free of rotor sources of AF. In our experience, ablation of rotor sites was not successful to stop fibrillation. Our comprehensive simulation framework provides the means to holistically benchmark ablation strategies in silico under consideration of all steps invol
AIMS: To test the ability of four circulating biomarkers of fibrosis, and of low left atrial voltage, to predict recurrence of atrial fibrillation after catheter ablation. BACKGROUND: Circulating biomarkers potentially may be used to improve patient selection for atrial fibrillation ablation. Low voltage areas in the left atrium predict arrhythmia recurrence when mapped in sinus rhythm. This study tested type III procollagen N terminal peptide (PIIINP), galectin-3 (gal-3), fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF-23), and type I collagen C terminal telopeptide (ICTP), and whether low voltage areas in the left atrium predicted atrial fibrillation recurrence, irrespective of the rhythm during mapping. METHODS: 92 atrial fibrillation ablation patients were studied. Biomarker levels in peripheral and intra-cardiac blood were measured with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Low voltage (<0.5mV) was expressed as a proportion of the mapped left atrial surface area. Follow-up was one year. The primary endpoint was recurrence of arrhythmia. The secondary endpoint was a composite of recurrence despite two procedures, or after one procedure if no second procedure was undertaken. RESULTS: The biomarkers were not predictive of either endpoint. After multivariate Cox regression analysis, high proportion of low voltage area in the left atrium was found to predict the primary endpoint in sinus rhythm mapping (hazard ratio 4.323, 95% confidence interval 1.337-13.982, p = 0.014) and atrial fibrillation mapping (hazard ratio 5.195, 95% confidence interval 1.032-26.141, p = 0.046). This effect was also apparent for the secondary endpoint. CONCLUSION: The studied biomarkers do not predict arrhythmia recurrence after catheter ablation. Left atrial voltage is an independent predictor of recurrence, whether the left atrium is mapped in atrial fibrillation or sinus rhythm.
Computational modeling is an important tool to advance our knowledge on cardiac diseases and their underlying mechanisms. Computational models of conduction in cardiac tissues require identification of parameters. Our knowledge on these parameters is limited, especially for diseased tissues. Here, we assessed and quantified parameters for computational modeling of conduction in cardiac tissues. We used a rabbit model of myocardial infarction (MI) and an imaging-based approach to derive the parameters. Left ventricular tissue samples were obtained from fixed control hearts (animals: 5) and infarcted hearts (animals: 6) within 200 μm (region 1), 250-750 μm (region 2) and 1,000-1,250 μm (region 3) of the MI border. We assessed extracellular space, fibroblasts, smooth muscle cells, nuclei and gap junctions by a multi-label staining protocol. With confocal microscopy we acquired three-dimensional (3D) image stacks with a voxel size of 200 × 200 × 200 nm. Image segmentation yielded 3D reconstructions of tissue microstructure, which were used to numerically derive extracellular conductivity tensors. Volume fractions of myocyte, extracellular, interlaminar cleft, vessel and fibroblast domains in control were (in %) 65.03 ± 3.60, 24.68 ± 3.05, 3.95 ± 4.84, 7.71 ± 2.15, and 2.48 ± 1.11, respectively. Volume fractions in regions 1 and 2 were different for myocyte, myofibroblast, vessel, and extracellular domains. Fibrosis, defined as increase in fibrotic tissue constituents, was (in %) 21.21 ± 1.73, 16.90 ± 9.86, and 3.58 ± 8.64 in MI regions 1, 2, and 3, respectively. For control tissues, image-based computation of longitudinal, transverse and normal extracellular conductivity yielded (in S/m) 0.36 ± 0.11, 0.17 ± 0.07, and 0.1 ± 0.06, respectively. Conductivities were markedly increased in regions 1 (+75, +171, and +100%), 2 (+53, +165, and +80%), and 3 (+42, +141, and +60%). Volume fractions of the extracellular space including interlaminar clefts strongly correlated with conductivities in control and MI hearts. Our study provides novel quantitative data for computational modeling of conduction in normal and MI hearts. Notably, our study introduces comprehensive statistical information on tissue composition and extracellular conductivities on a microscopic scale in the MI border zone. We suggest that the presented data fill a significant gap in modeling parameters and extend our foundation for computational modeling of cardiac conduction.
Objectives: This study hypothesized that P-wave morphology and timing under left atrial appendage (LAA) pacing change characteristically immediately upon anterior mitral line (AML) block. Background: Perimitral flutter commonly occurs following ablation of atrial fibrillation and can be cured by an AML. However, confirmation of bidirectional block can be challenging, especially in severely fibrotic atria. Methods: The study analyzed 129 consecutive patients (66 ± 8 years, 64% men) who developed perimitral flutter after atrial fibrillation ablation. We designed electrocardiography criteria in a retrospective cohort (n = 76) and analyzed them in a validation cohort (n = 53). Results: Bidirectional AML block was achieved in 110 (85%) patients. For ablation performed during LAA pacing without flutter (n = 52), we found a characteristic immediate V1 jump (increase in LAA stimulus to P-wave peak interval in lead V1) as a real-time marker of AML block (V1 jump ≥30 ms: sensitivity 95%, specificity 100%, positive predictive value 100%, negative predictive value 88%). As V1 jump is not applicable when block coincides with termination of flutter, absolute V1 delay was used as a criterion applicable in all cases (n = 129) with a delay of 203 ms indicating successful block (sensitivity 92%, specificity 84%, positive predictive value 90%, negative predictive value 87%). Furthermore, an initial negative P-wave portion in the inferior leads was observed, which was attenuated in case of additional cavotricuspid isthmus ablation. Computational P-wave simulations provide mechanistic confirmation of these findings for diverse ablation scenarios (pulmonary vein isolation ± AML ± roof line ± cavotricuspid isthmus ablation). Conclusions: V1 jump and V1 delay are novel real-time electrocardiography criteria allowing fast and straightforward assessment of AML block during ablation for perimitral flutter.
Background: During atrial fibrillation, heterogeneities and anisotropies result in a chaotic propagation of the depolarization wavefront. The electrophysiological parameter called conduction velocity (CV) influences the propagation pattern over the atrium. We present a method that determines the regional CV for deformed catheter shapes, which result due to the catheter movement and changing wall contact.Methods: The algorithm selects stable catheter positions, finds the local activation times (LAT), considers the wall contact and calculates all CV estimates within the area covered by the catheter. The method is evaluated with simulated data and then applied to four clinical data sets. Both sinus rhythm activity as well as depolarization wavefronts initiated by stimulation are analyzed. The regional CV is compared with the fractionation duration (FD) and peak-to-peak (P2P) voltages. A speed of 0.5 m/s was defined to create the simulated LAT.Results: After analyzing the simulated LAT with clinical catheter spatial coordinates, the median CV of 0.5 m/s with an interquartile range of 0.22 and exact CV direction vectors were obtained. For clinical cases, the CV magnitude range of 0.08 m/s to 1.0 m/s was obtained. The P2P amplitude of 0.7 mV to 3.7 mV and the mean FD from 40.79ms to 48.66ms was obtained. The correlation of 0.86 was observed between CV and P2P amplitude, and 0.62 between CV and FD.Conclusion: In this paper, a method is presented and validated which calculates the CV for the deformed catheter and changing wall contact. In an exemplary clinical data set correlation between regional CV with FD and the P2P voltage was observed.
W. Nahm, and B. Oppermann. Vom reinen Abbild zum assistierenden Roboter - Optische Technologien in der Medizin. In Medizin & Technik, vol. 2, pp. 92-94, 2018
Lernende Systeme oder Machine Learning, so sind sich Fachleute einig, werden auch in der Medizin und der Medizintechnik zukünftig eine große Bedeutung erlangen – mit Vorteilen aber auch mit Risiken für Patientinnen und Patienten, Unternehmen und Fachpersonal. Dabei ergeben sich verschiedenste Herausforderungen im Umgang mit Machine-Learning-Systemen – unter anderem für praktische Behandlungssituationen, für die Qualitätskontrolle, für die Sicherheit in Notfallsituationen oder die Bewertung der vom Computer vorgeschlagenen Diagnosen und Therapiepfade. Die vorliegende acatech POSITION ist das Ergebnis einer Arbeitsgruppe von Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern aus Medizin und Technik. Die Projektgruppe gibt einen Überblick über heutige Anwendungen von Machine Learning in der Medizintechnik und beleuchtet wichtige zukünftige Anwendungsfelder. Im Fokus stehen darüber hinaus ethische, rechtliche und regulatorische Aspekte sowie kritische Fragen zum Datenschutz und mögliche Veränderungen im Arzt-Patienten-Verhältnis. Neben Vorschlägen zum Aufbau großer medizinischer Datenbanken gibt diese Position auch Handlungsempfehlungen für Ärztinnen und Ärzte, Einrichtungen der Forschungsförderung und die Politik.