Personalized 3-D virtual simulations get to the ‘heart’ of cardiac arrhythmia
In a proof of concept study, scientists at Johns Hopkins report they have successfully created personalized, 3-D virtual simulations of patients’ hearts for doctors to visualize and perform a life-saving procedure that corrects irregular or rapid heartbeats.
The 3-D models will help cardiac specialists understand where to destroy tissue in the heart to stop potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmia. The retrospective analysis of 21 patients and prospective study of five patients with ventricular tachycardia, described in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, demonstrate that 3-D simulation-guided procedures are worthy of expanded clinical trials, the researchers say.
“Cardiac ablation, or the destruction of tissue to stop errant electrical impulses, has been somewhat successful but hampered by a lot of guesswork and variability in the way that physicians figure out which locations to zap with a catheter,” says Natalia Trayanova, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University’s schools of Engineering and Medicine. “Our new study results suggest we can remove a lot of the guesswork, standardize treatment, and decrease the variability in outcomes so that patients remain free of arrhythmia in the long term.”