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Personalized virtual-heart technology for guiding the ablation of infarct-related ventricular tachycardia


Ventricular tachycardia (VT), which can lead to sudden cardiac death, occurs frequently in patients with myocardial infarction. Catheter-based radio-frequency ablation of cardiac tissue has achieved only modest efficacy, owing to the inaccurate identification of ablation targets by current electrical mapping techniques, which can lead to extensive lesions and to a prolonged, poorly tolerated procedure. Here, we show that personalized virtual-heart technology based on cardiac imaging and computational modelling can identify optimal infarct-related VT ablation targets in retrospective animal (five swine) and human studies (21 patients), as well as in a prospective feasibility study (five patients). We first assessed, using retrospective studies (one of which included a proportion of clinical images with artefacts), the capability of the technology to determine the minimum-size ablation targets for eradicating all VTs. In the prospective study, VT sites predicted by the technology were targeted directly, without relying on prior electrical mapping. The approach could improve infarct-related VT ablation guidance, where accurate identification of patient-specific optimal targets could be achieved on a personalized virtual heart before the clinical procedure.

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Fig. 1: The VAAT protocol and results from the animal study.
Fig. 2: Results from the retrospective human study.
Fig. 3: Results from the retrospective human study in patients with ICDs.
Fig. 4: Results from the prospective human study.

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This work was supported by the NIH Pioneer Award (DP1-HL123271) to N.A.T.

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Authors and Affiliations



A.P., H.J.A., D.D., H.A. and P.P.N. performed animal and human LGE-MRI scan segmentation and model creation. A.P., H.J.A., D.D. and N.A.T. designed the simulation protocols. D.D., H.J.A., A.P. and P.N. performed simulations of VT in all models. D.D., A.P., P.M.B., H.J.A. and N.A.T. analysed the data. A.P. developed the pipeline for model generation from MRI scans with ICD artefact. D.D. and A.P. adapted the automatic algorithm for determining the ablation tragets in the ventricles. H.H. provided the swine MRI and electrophysiological data, as well as input for the animal study. S.N. provided part of the human MRI scans (at Johns Hopkins), conducted the prospective studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and provided clinical guidance and input. J.C. provided the remainder of the human MRI scans and patient outcomes. A.P. developed the methodology for input of simulation data into the clinical CARTO mapping system. J.B., E.G., R.M. and R.R. developed and implemented the clinical protocols at the University of Utah. R.R. and F.H. recruited patients and conducted VT ablations for the prospective human study at the University of Utah. S.N. and D.C. recruited patients and conducted VT ablations for the prospective human study at the University of Pennsylvania. N.A.T. initiated the collaborations, designed and coordinated the studies with contributions from H.J.A. and H.H. (retroprospective swine and human studies), S.N. and R.R. (prospective human studies), and A.P. and S.N. (retrospective human with ICD study), and supervised all simulation studies. H.J.A., D.D., A.P., P.M.B., E.G. and R.R. generated figures, tables and videos. N.A.T. wrote the manuscript with input from A.P. and H.J.A. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Natalia A. Trayanova.

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Competing interests

N.A.T. holds partial ownership of CardioSolv Ablation Technologies LLC. S.N. is a scientific advisor to CardioSolv Ablation Technologies LLC. The other authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplementary Video 1

Initiation of VT for patient 2 in the retrospective human study of patients with ICDs.

Supplementary Video 2

Initiation of sustained VT in the heart model of the patient from the prospective human study at the University of Utah.

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Prakosa, A., Arevalo, H.J., Deng, D. et al. Personalized virtual-heart technology for guiding the ablation of infarct-related ventricular tachycardia. Nat Biomed Eng 2, 732–740 (2018).

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