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.
The Purkinje system is part of the fast-conducting ventricular excitation system. The anatomy of the Purkinje system varies from person to person and imposes a unique excitation pattern on the ventricular myocardium, which defines the morphology of the QRS complex of the ECG to a large degree. While it cannot be imaged in-vivo, it plays an important role for personalizing computer simulations of cardiac electrophysiology. Here, we present a new method to automatically model and customize the Purkinje system based on the measured electrocardiogram (ECG) of a patient. A graphbased algorithm was developed to generate Purkinje systems based on the parameters fibre density, minimal distance from the atrium, conduction velocity, and position and timing of excitation sources mimicking the bundle branches. Based on the resulting stimulation profile, the activation times of the ventricles were calculated using the fast marching approach. Predescribed action potentials and a finite element lead field matrix were employed to obtain surface ECG signals. The root mean square error (RMSE) between the simulated and measured QRS complexes of the ECGs was used as cost function to perform optimization of the Purkinje parameters. One complete evaluation from Purkinje tree generation to the simulated ECG could be computed in about 10 seconds on a standard desktop computer. The measured ECG of the patient used to build the anatomical model was matched via parallel simplex optimization with a remaining RMSE of 4.05 mV in about 16 hours. The approach presented here allows to tailor the structure of the Purkinje system through the measured ECG in a patient-specific way. The computationally efficient implementation facilitates global optimization.
Atrial arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter are a major health challenge in developed countries. Radiofrequency ablation performed via intracardiac catheters is a curative therapy for these reentrant arrhythmias. However, the optimal location of ablation lesions is not straightforward to determine, particularly for complex activation patterns. Thus, a clinical need for tools to intuitively visualize complex activation patterns and to provide a platform to evaluate different ablation strategies in dry runs is apparent. Here, we present a virtual reality system that allows to interactively simulate atrial excitation propagation and place ablation lesions. Our software builds on the IMHOTEP framework for the Unity3D engine and implements a multithreaded model-view-controller design pattern. Excitation propagation is computed using a fast marching approach considering refractoriness. Interactive rewind and playback is supported through a combination of the flyweight pattern for simulation data with complete snapshots for key frames. The system was evaluated in a user study using the HTC ViveTM headset including two controllers. For high fidelity virtual reality interaction, a minimum frame rate of 60 per second is required. In a biatrial anatomical model comprising 36,059 nodes (Figure 1), even complex activation patterns with multiple wavefronts could be simulated and rendered down to 2x slow motion (1 sec activation sequence displayed during 2 sec wall time) on a desktop machine. Results of the user study suggest added value regarding the comprehension of arrhythmias and ablation options and very good intuitiveness of the user interface requiring almost no teach-in. The virtual reality tool is ready to be used for educational purposes and prepared to import personalized models supporting diagnosis and therapy planning for atrial arrhythmias in the future.
Diagnosis of atrial flutter caused by ablation of atrial fibrillation is complex due to ablation scars. This paper presents an approach to replicate the clinically measured flutter circuit in a dynamic computer model. In a first step, important anatomical features of the flutter circuit are extracted manually based on the clinical measurement. With the help of this information, the electrical excitation propagation is simulated on the atrial geometry using the fast marching method. The simulated flutter circuit is used to estimate the global and local conduction velocity by approximating it iteratively. The parameterized flutter simulation is supposed to support the physician during diagnosis and treatment of atrial flutter.
Student Theses (2)
E. Poremba. VR-gestützte, atriale Ablationsplanung durch interaktive Simulation der Erregungsausbreitung mittels Fast Marching (FaMaS-VR). Institut für Anthropomatik, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT). Masterarbeit. 2017
E. Poremba. Implementation of a fast simulation C++ framework for the computation of vulnerability to artial arrhythmias using the Fast Marching Algorithm. Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Bachelorarbeit. 2013