The solution of the inverse problem of electrocardiology allows the reconstruction of the spatial distribution of the electrical activity of the heart from the body surface electrocardiogram (electrocardiographic imaging, ECGI). ECGI using the equivalent dipole layer (EDL) model has shown to be accurate for cardiac activation times. However, validation of this method to determine repolarization times is lacking. In the present study, we determined the accuracy of the EDL model in reconstructing cardiac repolarization times, and assessed the robustness of the method under less ideal conditions (addition of noise and errors in tissue conductivity). A monodomain model was used to determine the transmembrane potentials in three different excitation-repolarization patterns (sinus beat and ventricular ectopic beats) as the gold standard. These were used to calculate the body surface ECGs using a finite element model. The resulting body surface electrograms (ECGs) were used as input for the EDL-based inverse reconstruction of repolarization times. The reconstructed repolarization times correlated well (COR > 0.85) with the gold standard, with almost no decrease in correlation after adding errors in tissue conductivity of the model or noise to the body surface ECG. Therefore, ECGI using the EDL model allows adequate reconstruction of cardiac repolarization times. Graphical abstract Validation of electrocardiographic imaging for repolarization using forward calculated body surface ECGs from simulated activation-repolarization sequences.
A. M. Janssen, D. Potyagaylo, O. Dössel, and T. F. Oostendorp. Assessment of the equivalent dipole layer source model in the reconstruction of cardiac activation times on the basis of BSPMs produced by an anisotropic model of the heart.. In Medical & biological engineering & computing, vol. 56(6) , pp. 1013-1025, 2018
Promising results have been reported in noninvasive estimation of cardiac activation times (AT) using the equivalent dipole layer (EDL) source model in combination with the boundary element method (BEM). However, the assumption of equal anisotropy ratios in the heart that underlies the EDL model does not reflect reality. In the present study, we quantify the errors of the nonlinear AT imaging based on the EDL approximation. Nine different excitation patterns (sinus rhythm and eight ectopic beats) were simulated with the monodomain model. Based on the bidomain theory, the body surface potential maps (BSPMs) were calculated for a realistic finite element volume conductor with an anisotropic heart model. For the forward calculations, three cases of bidomain conductivity tensors in the heart were considered: isotropic, equal, and unequal anisotropy ratios in the intra- and extracellular spaces. In all inverse reconstructions, the EDL model with BEM was employed: AT were estimated by solving the nonlinear optimization problem with the initial guess provided by the fastest route algorithm. Expectedly, the case of unequal anisotropy ratios resulted in larger localization errors for almost all considered activation patterns. For the sinus rhythm, all sites of early activation were correctly estimated with an optimal regularization parameter being used. For the ectopic beats, all but one foci were correctly classified to have either endo- or epicardial origin with an average localization error of 20.4 mm for unequal anisotropy ratio. The obtained results confirm validation studies and suggest that cardiac anisotropy might be neglected in clinical applications of the considered EDL-based inverse procedure.
The boundary element method is widely used to solve the forward problem of electrocardiography, i.e. to calculate the body surface potentials (BSP) caused by the heart’s electrical activity. This requires discretization of boundary surfaces between compartments of a torso model. Often, the resolution of the surface bounding the heart is chosen above 1 mm, which can lead to spikes in resulting BSPs. We demonstrate that this artifact is caused by discontinuous propagation of the wavefront on coarse meshes and can be avoided by blurring cardiac sources before spatial downsampling. We evaluate different blurring methods and show that Laplacian blurring reduces the BSP error 5-fold for both transmembrane voltages and extracellular potentials downsampled to 3 different resolutions. We suggest a method to find the optimal blurring parameter without having to compute BSPs using a fine mesh.
Electrocardiographic Imaging (ECGI) requires robust ECG forward simulations to accurately calculate cardiac activity. However, many questions remain regarding ECG forward simulations, for instance: there are not common guidelines for the required cardiac source sampling. In this study we test equivalent double layer (EDL) forward simulations with differing cardiac source resolutions and different spatial interpolation techniques. The goal is to reduce error caused by undersampling of cardiac sources and provide guidelines to reduce said source undersampling in ECG forward simulations. Using a simulated dataset sampled at 5 spatial resolutions, we computed body surface potentials using an EDL forward simulation pipeline. We tested two spatial interpolation methods to reduce error due to undersampling triangle weighting and triangle splitting. This forward modeling pipeline showed high frequency artifacts in the predicted ECG time signals when the cardiac source resolution was too low. These low resolutions could also cause shifts in extrema location on the body surface maps. However, these errors in predicted potentials can be mitigated by using a spatial interpolation method. Using spatial interpolation can reduce the number of nodes required for accurate body surface potentials from 9,218 to 2,306. Spatial interpolation in this forward model could also help improve accuracy and reduce computational cost in subsequent ECGI applications.