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article image3D medical imaging to detect irregular heartbeats

By Tim Sandle     Sep 23, 2018 in Health
An advancement has been made with medical imaging software. A new application can make a 3D representation of the human heart in order to assess the heart for irregular heartbeats, which might signal a cardiovascular problem.
The new research involves conducting 3D personalized virtual simulations of the heart. The study from Johns Hopkins University has been set-up to offer support to cardiac specialists so they can identify irregular heartbeats.
The focus of the medical imaging is with ventricular tachycardia. This is a is a form of regular and fast heart rate (arrhythmias) that arises from improper electrical activity in the ventricles of the heart. Over sustained periods of time, ventricular tachycardia may result in cardiac arrest and turn into ventricular fibrillation.
Explaining the importance of the study to Laboratory Roots, lead investigator Dr. Natalia Trayanova said: “Cardiac ablation, or the destruction of tissue to stop errant electrical impulses, has been somewhat successful but hampered by a lot of guesswork and variability in the way that physicians figure out which locations to zap with a catheter.”
In terms of the study outcome, Dr. Trayanova adds: “Our new study results suggest we can remove a lot of the guesswork, standardize treatment and decrease the variability in outcomes, so that patients remain free of arrhythmia in the long term.”
Treatment is normally via medication although the types of drugs used carry side effects. In order to identify those with the condition and to help establish a more personalized medical treatment plan, the new imaging software has been developed.
The imaging system is a 3D personalized computational models of patients' hearts based on contrast-enhanced clinical MRI images. To produce the necessary images, the researcher used magnetic resonance imaging scans to produce personalized heart models of individuals who previously had successful cardiac ablation procedures for infarct-related ventricular tachycardia.
The 3D modeling from these patients identified and predicted the locations where cardiac physicians have ablated heart tissue. Following this, the medical technologists proceeded to test the 3D simulation to guide cardiac ablation treatments for patients with ventricular tachycardia.
This analysis showed how such a computer-stimulated prediction can be successfully incorporated into the clinical routine. For actual required surgery, the predictions from the model helped to map the required area before the procedure is performed.
The research has been published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering. The research is titled “Personalized virtual-heart technology for guiding the ablation of infarct-related ventricular tachycardia.”
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