Atrial arrhythmias are frequently treated using catheter ablation during electrophysiological (EP) studies. However, success rates are only moderate and could be improved with the help of personalized simulation models of the atria. In this work, we present a workflow to generate and validate personalized EP simulation models based on routine clinical computed tomography (CT) scans and intracardiac electrograms. From four patient data sets, we created anatomical models from angiographic CT data with an automatic segmentation algorithm. From clinical intracardiac catheter recordings, individual conduction velocities were calculated. In these subject-specific EP models, we simulated different pacing maneuvers and measurements with circular mapping catheters that were applied in the respective patients. This way, normal sinus rhythm and pacing from a coronary sinus catheter were simulated. Wave directions and conduction velocities were quantitatively analyzed in both clinical measurements and simulated data and were compared. On average, the overall difference of wave directions was 15° (8%), and the difference of conduction velocities was 16 cm/s (17%). The method is based on routine clinical measurements and is thus easy to integrate into clinical practice. In the long run, such personalized simulations could therefore assist treatment planning and increase success rates for atrial arrhythmias.
In this paper, we present an efficient method to estimate changes in forward-calculated body surface potential maps (BSPMs) caused by variations in tissue conductivities. For blood, skeletal muscle, lungs, and fat, the influence of conductivity variations was analyzed using the principal component analysis (PCA). For each single tissue, we obtained the first PCA eigenvector from seven sample simulations with conductivities between ±75% of the default value. We showed that this eigenvector was sufficient to estimate the signal over the whole conductivity range of ±75%. By aligning the origins of the different PCA coordinate systems and superimposing the single tissue effects, it was possible to estimate the BSPM for combined conductivity variations in all four tissues. Furthermore, the method can be used to easily calculate confidence intervals for the signal, i.e., the minimal and maximal possible amplitudes for given conductivity uncertainties. In addition to that, it was possible to determine the most probable conductivity values for a given BSPM signal. This was achieved by probing hundreds of different conductivity combinations with a numerical optimization scheme. In conclusion, our method allows to efficiently predict forward-calculated BSPMs over a wide range of conductivity values from few sample simulations.
Conduction velocity (CV) and CV restitution are important substrate parameters for understanding atrial arrhythmias. The aim of this work is to (i) present a simple but feasible method to measure CV restitution in-vivo using standard circular catheters, and (ii) validate its feasibility with data measured during incremental pacing. From five patients undergoing catheter ablation, we analyzed 8 datasets from sinus rhythm and incremental pacing sequences. Every wavefront was measured with a circular catheter and the electrograms were analyzed with a cosine-fit method that calculated the local CV. For each pacing cycle length, the mean local CV was determined. Furthermore, changes in global CV were estimated from the time delay between pacing stimulus and wavefront arrival. Comparing local and global CV between pacing at 500 and 300 ms, we found significant changes in 7 of 8 pacing sequences. On average, local CV decreased by 2015% and global CV by 1713%. The method allows for in-vivo measurements of absolute CV and CV restitution during standard clinical procedures. Such data may provide valuable insights into mechanisms of atrial arrhythmias. This is important both for improving cardiac models and also for clinical applications, such as characterizing arrhythmogenic substrates during sinus rhythm.
Atrial arrhythmias, such as atrial flutter or fibrillation, are frequent indications for catheter ablation. Recorded intracardiac electrograms (EGMs) are, however, mostly evaluated subjectively by the physicians. In this paper, we present a method to quantitatively extract the wave direction and the local conduction velocity from one single beat in a circular mapping catheter signal. We simulated typical clinical EGMs to validate the method. We then showed that even with noise, the average directional error was below 10(°) and the average velocity error was below 5.4 cm/s. In a realistic atrial simulation, the method could clearly distinguish between stimuli from different pulmonary veins. We further analyzed eight clinical data segments from three patients in normal sinus rhythm and with stimulation. We obtained stable wave directions for each segment and conduction velocities between 70 and 115 cm/s. We conclude that the method allows for easy quantitative analysis of single macroscopic wavefronts in intracardiac EGMs, such as during atrial flutter or in typical clinical stimulation procedures after termination of atrial fibrillation. With corresponding simulated data, it can provide an interface to personalize electrophysiological (EP) models. Furthermore, it could be integrated into EP navigation systems to provide quantitative data of high diagnostic value to the physician
The delineation of anatomical structures in medical images can be achieved in an efficient and robust manner using statistical anatomical organ models, which has been demonstrated for an already considerable set of organs, including the heart. While it is possible to provide models with sufficient shape variability to cope, to a large extent, with inter-patient variability, as long as object topology is conserved, it is a fundamental problem to cope with topological organ variability. We address this by creating a set of model variants and selecting the most appropriate model variant for the patient at hand. We propose a hybrid method combining model-based image analysis with a guided region growing approach for automated anatomical variant selection and apply it to the left atrium in cardiac CT images. Concerning the human heart, the left atrium is the most variable sub-structure with a variable number of pulmonary veins draining into it. It is of large clinical interest in the context of atrial fibrillation and related interventions.
Atrial myofiber orientation is complex and has multiple discrete layers and bundles. A novel robust semi-automatic method to incorporate atrial anisotropy and heterogeneities into patient-specific models is introduced. The user needs to provide 22 distinct seed-points from which a network of auxiliary lines is constructed. These are used to define fiber orientation and myocardial bundles. The method was applied to 14 patient-specific volumetric models derived from CT, MRI and photographic data. Initial electrophysiological simulations show a significant influence of anisotropy and heterogeneity on the excitation pattern and P-wave duration (20.7% shortening). Fiber modeling results show good overall correspondence with anatomical data. Minor modeling errors are observed if more than four pulmonary veins exist in the model. The method is an important step towards creating realistic patient-specific atrial models for clinical applications.
Electrophysiological simulations of the atria could improve diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmia, like atrial fibrillation or flutter. For this purpose, a precise segmentation of both atria is needed. However, the atrial epicardium and the electrophysiological structures needed for electrophysiological simulations are barely or not at all detectable in CT-images. Therefore, a model based segmentation of only the atrial endocardium was developed as a landmark generator to facilitate the registration of a finite wall thickness model of the right and left atrial myocardium. It further incorporates atlas information about tissue structures relevant for simulation purposes like Bachmanns bundle, terminal crest, sinus node and the pectinate muscles. The correct model based segmentation of the atrial endocardium was achieved with a mean vertex to surface error of 0.53 mm for the left and 0.18 mm for the right atrium respectively. The atlas based myocardium segmentation yields physiologically correct results well suited for electrophysiological simulations.
Background: Catheter ablation of complex atrial arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation and atypical atrial flutter, is still challenging. Clinically evaluated ablation methods are leading to moderate success rates. Assessments of intracardiac electrograms are often done subjectively by the physician. Automatic algorithms can therefore improve the analysis of complex atrial electrograms (EGMs). In this work, we demonstrate a quantitative analysis of intracardiac EGMs from circular mapping catheters in humans. Both the wave direction and the local conduction velocity (CV) were calculated from individual wave fronts passing the catheter.Methods: Intracardiac EGMs measured with circular mapping catheters in humans were retrospectively analyzed. Five data sets from 3 patients undergoing catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation or flutter were available. Using a nonlinear energy operator, activation times from 9 bipolar catheter signals were calculated for each atrial activity. The resulting activation pattern was fitted to a cosine-shaped data model that has been validated in a previous simulation study. The cosine phase represented the wave direction. From the cosine amplitude and the catheter radius, the conduction velocity was calculated.Results: The wave directions in all five measurements were stable with a standard deviation below 10°. Calculated CVs were in the range of 70 to 110 cm/s, which is in accordance with published values. In one patient, electrograms were recorded during atrial stimulation. Stimulation cycle length was decreased from 500 to 300 milliseconds. Conduction velocity decreased by approximately 10% at a cycle length of 300 milliseconds compared with the CV at 500 milliseconds.Conclusion: The results show the ability to reliably extract wave direction and conduction velocity from intracardiac EGMs recorded with circular mapping catheters. Detected directions were stable, and the CV values were in a physiological range. As individual beats are analyzed, the method will also enable the quantitative study of singular events such as ectopic beats and facilitate the localization of tachycardia origins. Further, it will help to measure substrate parameters such as the CV and even CV restitution behavior. This way, the method can help to identify patient-specific physiological parameters that can be integrated into patient-specific models. Furthermore, it can directly provide quantitative data of high diagnostic value to the examiner and thereby improve clinical success rates.
Catheter ablation of complex atrial arrhythmias is a frequently applied procedure, but its success rates are only moderate and highly dependent on the experience of the physician. Personalized atrial simulation models could assist the physician in treatment planning and thus increase success rates. In this work we created a personalized anatomical model for a specific patient from CT image data. Left atrial conduction velocity and local wave directions were determined from intracardiac electrogram (EGM) recordings. We simulated normal sinus rhythm and the clinical pacing protocol using a Cellular Automaton. The incidence direction and conduction velocity were extracted from the simulated data and compared to the results of the clinical EGMs of the same patient. We then showed that the incidence angles differed by less than 15% and that the conduction velocity error was below 12 cm/s. This implies that the model has similar electric properties compared to the real atria. In conclusion, we have presented a workflow for model personalization and validation.
A framework for the automatic extraction and generation of patient-specific organ models from different image modalities is presented. These models can be used to extract and represent diagnostic information about the heart and its function. Furthermore, the models can be used for treatment planning and an overlay of the models onto X-ray fluoroscopy images can support navigation when performing an intervention in the CathLab.
Patient-specific model adaptation and validation requires a comparison of simulations with measured patient data. For patients suffering from atrial fibrillation, such data is mainly available as intracardiac catheter signals. In this work, we demonstrate the simulation of clinically relevant catheter data as measured using circular mapping catheters (such as Lasso or Orbiter) and coronary sinus catheters using atrial simulations on a realistic geometry. Four circular catheters are modeled using a projection technique for two distinct types of application. We show that in sinus rhythm, the choice of a distinct electrophysiological model does not impair the signal quality. Finally, we compare simulated potentials to a real clinical measurement. In the future, with patient- specific models available, such comparisons can constitute an important interface for personalizing cardiac models.
Intracardiac catheter recordings are available in common clinical practice. They can therefore be employed to adapt and validate atrial computer models of individual patients. Hence, their information content needs to be analyzed quantitatively. During treatment of atrial arrhythmia such as atrial flutter or fibrillation, the location of ectopic foci in the pulmonary veins is of special interest. In this study, virtual catheter signals are extracted from an atrial simulation on a realistic geometry with normal sinus rhythm as well as ectopic stimuli in all four pulmonary veins. Using a simplified Pan-Tompkins algorithm, the activation times are determined. Based on the analysis of the activation sequence in a circular mapping catheter simulated on the posterior left atrial wall, all four ectopic foci can clearly be associated with the pulmonary vein they came from. For a catheter on the anterior wall, this is possible for three of the four ectopic beats. Despite the knowledge gathered for the personalization of patient models, such simulations may help cardiologists to better classify measured signals.
Simulation of cardiac excitation is often a trade-off between accuracy and speed. A promising minimal, time-efficient cell model with four state variables has recently been presented together with parametrizations for ventricular cell behaviour. In this work, we adapt the model parameters to reproduce atrial excitation properties as given by the Courtemanche model. The action potential shape is considered as well as the restitution of action potential duration and conduction velocity. Simulation times in a single cell and a tissue patch are compared between the two models. We further present the simulation of a sinus beat on the atria in a realistic 3D geometry using the fitted minimal model in a monodomain simulation.
Student Theses (1)
N. Lorenz. Quantitative Assessment of Algorithms for Ventricular Far Field Removal in a Clinical Context. Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Bachelorarbeit. 2020
The incidence of atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation steadily increases in societies of industrial nations. Atrial electrograms help to diagnose these diseases and assist their treatment. Unipolar electrograms have several advantages over bipolar electrograms, but on the other hand they are more affected by noise and the ventricular far field. Therefore, commonly only bipolar electrograms are used in clinical settings. This thesis evaluates different approaches for removing the ventricular far field as a major confounding effect from clinical unipolar electrograms. This work focuses on approaches based on a spatio-temporal model of the ventricular far field. The models were trained using a dipole and polynomial method. Several criteria for the quality of the removal of the ventricular far field from unipolar electrograms in atrial flutter and sinus rhythm / paced rhythm were introduced. The influence of parameters such as the number of dipoles, the polynomial degree and the rhythm of the data used for the ventricular far field model on the quality of the removal was investigated quantitatively. Among the used methods, the dipole model performed best and is capable of removing a major amount of the ventricular far field by up to 82:76% for the median patient. Training the ventricular far field model with atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation sequences led to to a less complete removal, but the approaches were still able to remove the impact of the ventricular far field significantly by up to 75:93% for the median patient.