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.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common cardiac disease of genuine clinical concern with high rates of morbidity, leading to major personal and National Health Service costs. Computer modelling of AF using biophysically detailed cellular models with realistic 3D anatomical geometry allows investigation of the underlying ionic mechanisms in far more detail than with experimental physiology. We have developed a 3D virtual human atrium that combines detailed cellular electrophysiology including ion channel kinetics and homeostasis of ionic concentrations with anatomical details. The segmented anatomical structure and the multi- variable nature of the system make the 3D simulations of AF computationally large and intensive.
Mathematical models of cardiac anatomy and physics provide information, which help to understand structure and behavior of the heart. Miscellaneous cardiac phenomena can only be adequately described by combination of models representing different aspects or levels of detail. Coupling of these models necessitates the definition of appropriate interfaces. Adequateness and efficiency of interfaces is crucial for efficient application of the combined models.In this work an integrated model is presented consisting of several models interconnected by interfaces. The integrated model allows the reconstruction of macroscopic electro-mechanical processes in the heart. The model comprises a three-dimensional are of left ventricular anatomy represented as truncated ellipsoid. The integrated model includes electrophysiological, tension development and elastomechanical models of myocardium at levels of single cell, proteins, and tissue patches, respectively.The model is exemplified by simulations of extracorporated left ventricle of small mammals. These simulations yield temporal distributions of electrophysiological parameters as well as descriptions of electrical propagation and mechanical deformation. The simulations show characteristic macroscopic ventricular function resulting from the interplay between cellular electrophysiology, electrical excitation propagation, tension development, and mechanical deformation.
Investigating the mechanisms underlying the genesis and conduction of electrical excitation in the atria at physiological and pathological states is of great importance. To provide knowledge concerning the mechanisms of excitation, we constructed a biophysical detailed and anatomically accurate computer model of human atria that incorporates both structural and electrophysiological heterogeneities. The three-dimensional geometry was extracted from the visible female dataset. The sinoatrial node (SAN) and atrium, including crista terminalis (CT), pectinate muscles (PM), appendages (APG) and Bachmann's bundle (BB) were segmented in this work. Fibre orientation in CT, PM and BB was set to local longitudinal direction. Descriptions for all used cell types were based on modifications of the Courtemanche et al. model of a human atrial cell. Maximum conductances of Ito, IKr and ICa,L were modified for PM, CT, APG and atrioventricular ring to reproduce measured action potentials (AP). Pacemaker activity in the human SAN was reproduced by removing IK1, but including If, ICa,T, and gradients of channel conductances as described in previous studies for heterogeneous rabbit SAN. Anisotropic conduction was computed with a monodomain model using the finite element method. The transversal to longitudinal ratio of conductivity for PM, CT and BB was 1:9. Atrial working myocardium (AWM) was set to be isotropic. Simulation of atrial electrophysiology showed initiation of APs in the SAN centre. The excitation spread afterwards to the periphery near to the region of the CT and preferentially towards the atrioventricular region. The excitation extends over the right atrium along PM. Both CT and PM activated the right AWM. Earliest activation of the left atrium was through BB and excitation spread over to the APG. The conduction velocities were 0.6ms-1 for AWM, 1.2ms-1 for CT, 1.6ms-1 for PM and 1.1ms-1 for BB at a rate of 63bpm. The simulations revealed that bundles form dominant pathways for atrial conduction. The preferential conduction towards CT and along PM is comparable with clinical mapping. Repolarization is more homogeneous than excitation due to the heterogeneous distribution of electrophysiological properties and hence the action potential duration.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) induced electrical remodelling of ionic channels shortens action potential duration and reduces atrial excitability. Experimental data of AF-induced electrical remodelling (AFER) from two previous studies on human atrial myocytes were incorporated into a human atrial cell computer model to simulate their effects on atrial electrical behaviour. The dynamical behaviors of excitation scroll waves in an anatomical 3D homogenous model of human atria were studied for control and AF conditions. Under control condition, scroll waves meandered in large area and became persistent when entrapped by anatomical obstacles. In this case, a mother rotor dominated atrial excitation. Action potentials from several sites behaved as if the atrium were paced rapidly. Under AF conditions, AFER increased the stability of re-entrant scroll waves by reducing meander. Scroll wave break up leads to wavelets underpinning sustained chronic AF. Our simulation results support the hypothesis that AF-induced electrical remodelling perpetuates and sustains AF.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common cardiac disease with high rates of morbidity, leading to major personal and NHS costs. Computer modeling of AF using a detailed cellular model with realistic 3D anatomical geometry allows investigation of the underlying ionic mechanisms in far more detail than in a physiology laboratory. We have developed a 3D virtual human atrium that combines detailed cellular electrophysiology, including ion channel kinetics and homeostasis of ionic concentrations, with anatomical detail. The segmented anatomical structure and multi-variable nature of the system makes the 3D simulations of AF large and computationally intensive. The computational demands are such that a full problem solving environment requires access to resources of High Performance Computing (HPC), High Performance Visualization (HPV), remote data repositories and a backend infrastructure. This is a classic example of eScience and Gridenabled computing. Initial work has been carried out using multiple processor machines with shared memory architectures. As spatial resolution of anatomical models increases, requirement of HPC resources is predicted to increase many-fold ( ~ 1 10 teraflops). Distributed computing is essential, both through massively parallel systems (a single supercomputer) and multiple parallel systems made accessible through the Grid.