Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Columbia engineers develop new method to diagnose heart arrhythmias

10.05.2011
First non-invasive technique to directly map electrical activation of the heart

Abnormalities in cardiac conduction, the rate at which the heart conducts electrical impulses to contract and relax, are a major cause of death and disability around the world. Researchers at Columbia Engineering School have been developing a new method, Electromechanical Wave Imaging (EWI), that is the first non-invasive technique to map the electrical activation of the heart.

Based on ultrasound imaging, EWI will enable doctors to treat arrhythmias more efficiently and more precisely. The study was published online in the May 9th Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Up until now, other research groups have mostly focused on measuring the electrical activation directly but invasively, through electrode contact, or non-invasively but indirectly, through complex mathematical modeling based on remote measurements. "This is an important breakthrough," said Elisa Konofagou, who led the research and is an associate professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology at Columbia University's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. "The approach we have chosen — to look at the minute deformations following the electrical activation of the heart — is both direct and noninvasive. Electromechanical Wave Imaging is also eminently translational as it can be incorporated into most ultrasound scanners already available in hospitals and clinics, and can be modified at little or no cost to use our technology."

Using their EWI method, the Columbia Engineering team imaged the heart with ultrasound five times faster than standard echocardiography and mapped the local deformations of the heart with their images. The researchers then looked at small regions of the heart (just a few millimeters squared) and measured how much these regions were stretched or compressed every 2/1000s of a second. This enabled them to precisely identify at what time each region of the heart began to contract, a.k.a the electromechanical activation, in all four chambers of the heart. They compared their maps with the electrical activation sequence and found they were closely correlated, both at the natural rhythm of the heart and when the heart was artificially paced.

Arrhythmias occur when the normal electrical activation sequence in the heart is disrupted and their prevalence is expected to rise, as people live longer. In some cases, effective treatments exist. For example, a pacemaker can be surgically placed or a catheter can be brought into the cardiac chambers and used to burn diseased regions of the heart or pacing leads can be implanted in the heart to bypass the diseased conduction system and replace it by artificial electrical activation. But doctors can't always tell where to ablate with a catheter or who will benefit from artificial electrical activation. EWI could help determine in advance which patients can benefit from these treatments or identify with more precision which regions of the heart should be ablated. It could also be used to adapt treatment parameters as the patient's condition evolves.

"Since ultrasound is so safe, portable, and low cost," added Dr. Konofagou, "we can imagine a future where most physicians can carry a portable ultrasound scanner the size of an iPhone and easily get a map of the activation of the heart during a routine visit." Her team has already begun to image patients with arrhythmias and compare their measurements with the gold standard of catheterization and non-contact electrode measurements. If this study is conclusive, they will then move to a larger clinical study.

The Columbia Engineering study has been supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Columbia Engineering

Columbia University's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, founded in 1864, offers programs in nine departments to both undergraduate and graduate students. With facilities specifically designed and equipped to meet the laboratory and research needs of faculty and students, Columbia Engineering is home to NSF-NIH funded centers in genomic science, molecular nanostructures, materials science, and energy, as well as one of the world's leading programs in financial engineering. These interdisciplinary centers are leading the way in their respective fields while individual groups of engineers and scientists collaborate to solve some of society's more vexing challenges.

Holly Evarts | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.columbia.edu
http://www.engineering.columbia.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>