Radiofrequency ablation has become a first-line approach for curative therapy of many cardiac arrhythmias. Various existing catheter designs provide high spatial resolution to identify the best spot for performing ablation and to assess lesion formation. However, creation of transmural and nonconducting ablation lesions requires usage of catheters with larger electrodes and improved thermal conductivity, leading to reduced spatial sensitivity. As trade-off, an ablation catheter with integrated mini electrodes was introduced. The additional diagnostic benefit of this catheter is still not clear. In order to solve this issue, we implemented a computational setup with different ablation scenarios. Our in silico results show that peak-to-peak amplitudes of unipolar electrograms from mini electrodes are more suitable to differentiate ablated and nonablated tissue compared to electrograms from the distal ablation electrode. However, in orthogonal mapping position, no significant difference was observed between distal electrode and mini electrodes electrograms in the ablation scenarios. In conclusion, catheters with mini electrodes bring about additional benefit to distinguish ablated tissue from nonablated tissue in parallel position with high spatial resolution. It is feasible to detect conduction gaps in linear lesions with this catheter by evaluating electrogram data from mini electrodes.
Conference Contributions (7)
S. Pollnow, R. Arnold, M. Werber, O. Dössel, and G. Seemann. Hyperthermia dependence of cardiac conduction velocity in rat myocardium: Optical mapping and cardiac near field measurements. In 39th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), pp. 3688-3691, 2017
Hyperthermia during radiofrequency ablation causes reversible and irreversible changes of the electrophysiological properties of cardiac tissue. However, the mechanisms are incompletely understood. We studied changes of conduction velocity (CV) in rat myocardium under hyperthermic conditions from macroscopic to microscopic scale by using simultaneous optical mapping and a miniaturized electrode array. Atrial preparations from five rats were superfused at tissue bath temperatures between 36.7°C and 43.8°C. Optical mapping data showed an elevated median CV by 21% when increasing the temperature from 36.7°C to 42.0°C. CV did not increase above 42.0°C. Electrical measurements revealed a similar temperature dependence of CV between 36.7°C and 42.0°C, i.e. an increase of median CV by 26%. The consolidation of optical and electrical data in this study allowed investigation of excitation during global hyperthermia. Macroscopic optical mapping and microscopic electrical measurements demonstrated that hyperthermia strongly influenced electrical propagation at a microscopic scale.
Radiofrequency ablation is the gold standard for treating cardiac arrhythmias. However, the success rate of this procedure depends on numerous parameters. Wet lab experiments provide the opportunity to investigate cardiac electrophysiology under reproducible conditions. To evaluate the electrophysiological changes of ablated myocardium in these studies it is necessary to consider the three-dimensional (3D) geometry of the lesions. For this purpose, we investigated the usage of different magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences as well as an image processing procedure to analyze in-vitro preparations. To differentiate signal intensities between nonablated and ablated tissue we evaluated FISP (fast imaging with steady-state precession; delivering dominantly T1-weighted images) and RARE (rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement; delivering dominantly T2-weighted images). After image processing, the ablated tissue was segmented in each image slice forming a 3D volume. The geometry of the lesion was modeled by the boundary of this volume. It was generally feasible to distinguish between healthy myocardium and ablated tissue as well as to determine lesion transmurality. The analysis of the reconstructed lesion geometries from FISP and RARE MRI showed a high agreement, however T2-weighted sequences showed larger lesion volumes as well as higher variations in segmentation compared to T1- mapping. FISP with higher quality may be used to reconstruct the 3D geometry of the ablation lesions.
Today, patients suffering from atrial arrhythmias like atrial flutter (AFlut) or atrial fibrillation (AFib) are examined in the EP-lab (electrophysiology lab) in order to understand and treat the disease. Multichannel catheters are advanced into the atria in order to measureelectric signals at manyintracardiacpositions simultaneously. Complementary to clinical learning,comprehension of the disease and therapeutic strategies can be improved with computer modeling of the heart. This way, hypotheses about initiation and perpetuation of the arrhythmia can be tested and ablation strategies can be assessed in-silico. Modeling and biosignal analysis can benefit from mutual fertilization. On the one hand, modeling can be improved and personalization can be achieved via high density mapping of the atria. On the other hand, new algorithms for the interpretation of multichannel electrograms can be developed and evaluated with synthetic signals from computer models of the atria. This article illustrates the synergetic potential by examples and highlights challenges to be addressed in the future.
C. Gross, S. Pollnow, O. Dössel, and G. Lenis. Automatic feature extraction algorithms for the assessment of in-vitro electrical recordings of rat myocardium with ablation lesions. In Current Directions in Biomedical Engineering, vol. 3(2) , pp. 249-252, 2017
Cardiac arrhythmias are a widely spread disease in industrialized countries. A common clinical treatment for this disease is radiofrequency ablation (RFA), in which high frequency alternating current creates a lesion on the myocardium. However, the formation of the lesion is not entirely understood. To obtain more information about ablation lesions (ALs) and their electrophysiological properties, we established an in-vitro setup to record electrical activity of rat myocardium. Electrical activity is measured by a circular shaped multielectrode array. This work was focused to gain more information by developing algorithms to process the measured electrical signals to collect different features, which may allow us to characterize an AL. First, pacing artefacts were detected and blanked. Subsequently, data were filtered. Afterwards, activations in atrial signals were detected using a non-linear energy operator (NLEO) and templates of these activations were generated. Finally, we determined different features on each activation in order to evaluate changes of unipolar as well as bipolar electrograms and considered these features before and after ablation. In conclusion, the majority of the signal features delivered significant differences between normal tissue and lesion. Among others, a reduction in peak to peak amplitude and a diminished spectral power in the band 0 to 100 Hz may be useful indicators for AL. These criteria should be verified in future studies with the aim of estimating indirectly the formation of a lesion.
Lung ventilation and perfusion analyses using chest imaging methods require a correct segmentation of the lung to offer anatomical landmarks for the physiological data. An automatic segmentation approach simplifies and accelerates the analysis. However, the segmentation of the lungs has shown to be difficult if collapsed areas are present that tend to share similar gray values with surrounding non-pulmonary tissue. Our goal was to develop an automatic segmentation algorithm that is able to approximate dorsal lung boundaries even if alveolar collapse is present in the dependent lung areas adjacent to the pleura. Computed tomography data acquired in five supine pigs with injured lungs were used for this purpose. First, healthy lung tissue was segmented using a standard 3D region growing algorithm. Further, the bones in the chest wall surrounding the lungs were segmented to find the contact points of ribs and pleura. Artificial boundaries of the dorsal lung were set by spline interpolation through these contact points. Segmentation masks of the entire lung including the collapsed regions were created by combining the splines with the segmentation masks of the healthy lung tissue through multiple morphological operations. The automatically segmented images were then evaluated by comparing them to manual segmentations and determining the Dice similarity coefficients (DSC) as a similarity measure. The developed method was able to accurately segment the lungs including the collapsed regions (DSCs over 0.96).
Recent studies about the development of endocardial radiofrequency (RF) ablation lesions (ALs) tried to identify reliable electrogram (EGM) markers for assessment of lesion transmurality. Additional clinically relevant information for physicians can be provided by examining endocardial EGM parameters like signal morphology, amplitude or time points in the signal. We investigated EGM features of the pulmonary vein ostia before and after RF ablation for three point-shaped lesions. Using high-density (HD) mapping, local activation time (LAT) and voltage maps were created, which provided information about the RF ALs regarding the lesion size and showed activation time delay as well as low-voltage areas with bipolar peak-to-peak voltages smaller than 2mV. The time delay of the depolarization front comparing the activation times anterior and posterior to the RF AL was up to 51.5 ms. In a circular area with 5mm radius around an RF AL the mean peak-to-peak voltage decreased by 62-94% to about 0.12-0.44mV and the mean maximal absolute EGM derivative was reduced by 65-96 %. Comparing the results of this study with EGMs of similar clinical settings confirmed our expectations regarding the low-voltage areas caused by the ablation procedure. An improved understanding of the electrophysiological changes is of fundamental importance to provide more information for enhanced RF ablation assessment.