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‘Colouring’ The Heart For Successful Treatment

New techniques could help cardiologists understand and target cardiac arrhythmia triggers with unprecedented accuracy, according to recent research from researchers at the University of Leicester (Available from:

The study describes a methodology for generating colour-coded dominant frequency (DF) maps giving a 3D representation of the inner surface of the atrium with high resolution (2048 measurement points form noncontact unipolar electrograms). The aim is to rapidly identify ‘driver’ sites that can be most effectively ablated.

João Loures, centre

João Loures, centre

The study was performed in 20-second long continuous segments of each of the 2,048 non-contact unipolar electrograms during AF for four different protocols: baseline, after two different drugs infusion (atropine and isoprenaline) and after ablation in three patients with persistent AF. The patients underwent catheter ablation guided by contact mapping software (EnSite NavX 6.0, St. Jude Medical) during electro-physiological procedures of AF.

Using the tools described the authors assert that highly detailed DF maps could be made available to the electrophysiologist in theatre during the ablation procedure, in real-time, provided that a powerful enough computer were available to relay them.

Its authors state that the next stage of this project will include detailed analysis of the behaviour of the DF maps along space and time and a retrospective comparison of the DF maps and the ablation sites in successful interventions. They also intend to use mapping resulting from alternative analysis techniques (such as complex fractionated electrograms).

The research was led by João Loures, a PhD student at the University of Leicester’s Department of Engineering, in collaboration with the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, and Glenfield Hospital. Loures presented the work recently at the House of Commons ‘SET for Britain’ Awards.

Dr Fernando Soares Schlindwein, one of Loures’ supervisors, said: “João Loures’ research, based on frequency domain analysis of the atrial electrograms rather than the classical time domain analysis, opens a whole new dimension in the diagnostics of atrial arrhythmias and the identification and characterisation of triggers and rotors involved in AF.”

He added: “We expect that the real-time implementation of frequency-based analysis on a 3D colour map of the atria will improve tremendously both the understanding of the mechanisms of generation and propagation of AF, as well as improve even more the success rate of the ablation procedure to cure this condition.”

Published on: April 6, 2011

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  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association

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