Research led by Hermenegild Arevalo featured in Nature Communications


herCollaborative research led by ICM Assistant Research Professor Hermenegild Arevalo of the lab of Dr. Natalia Trayanova, Murray B. Sachs Professor of Biomedical Engineering, was featured May 10, 2016 online journal Nature Communications. The article “Arrhythmia risk stratification of patients after myocardial infarction using personalized heart models” reports on results from a proof-of concept study to test the lab’s virtual-heart arrhythmia risk predictor (VARP). The VARP was developed to provide cardiac clinicians with a non-invasive, 3-D virtual heart assessment tool to predict future arrhythmic events in arrhythmia patients, thereby determining which patients are most in need of an implantable defibrillator.

In this retrospective study, Dr. Arevalo and his co-authors conducted VARP simulations on a cohort of 41 patients who had survived a heart attack but were left with damaged cardiac tissue that predisposes the heart to arrhythmias. Using computer-modeling techniques previously developed in the Trayanova lab, a geometrical replica of each patient’s heart was created by incorporating representations of the electrical processes in the cardiac cells and the communication among cells. The team found that this computational approach yielded more accurate predictions than accepted methods, such as blood pumping measurement, used by most cardiologists today.

Dr. Arevalo completed his PhD work under Dr. Trayanova’s advisement in 2014, and he continues to maintain an affiliation with her lab at the Johns Hopkins University.  Additionally, since the fall of 2016, he has pursued postdoctoral studies at Simula Research Laboratory in Oslo, Norway. He was previously awarded the 2016 Young Investigator Award at the Heart Rhythm Scientific Sessions for his work on VARP.

Dr. Fijoy Vadakkumpadan, also previously of the Trayanova lab and now Staff Scientist at SAS, served as co-lead author on the Nature Communications article. Along with Dr. Trayanova and her clinical collaborator Dr. Katherine Wu, Associate Professor of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, co-authors were Dr. Eliseo Guallar, Professor of Epidemiology in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Alexander Jebb and Peter Malamas, both B.S. degree recipients from the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering.

To read more about this research on the JHU Hub, click here.

This research is also featured in the Guardian, here.

JHU - Institute for Computational Medicine