Nav: Home

Open-source solution: Researchers 3D-print system for optical cardiography

March 21, 2019

An international research team from the George Washington University, U.S., and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia, has developed an open-source solution for multiparametric optical mapping of the heart's electrical activity. The technique involves monitoring multiple parameters at once -- for example, both electrical excitation and the changes in the intracellular calcium concentration. This technique is a useful tool for enhancing our understanding of the mechanisms behind cardiac arrhythmias. The 3D models of the mapping system components and the source code for data analysis are openly available, enabling other research groups to benefit from the new solution. The study was published in Scientific Reports.

Cardiac excitation-contraction involves numerous interacting phenomena, primarily electrical excitation and the variation in calcium concentration. Normally, excitation is initiated by a group of cells in the right atrium, called the sinoatrial node, and spreads through the cardiac conduction system to the atria and ventricles (figure 1). Abnormalities in propagation, known as arrhythmias, are a leading cause of mortality in Russia and other developed countries.

Optical mapping is currently the leading technique for investigating the mechanisms behind arrhythmias. This technique is based on perfusing ex vivo whole heart or a slice of cardiac tissue with fluorescent dyes. A number of intracellular parameter changes could be tracked this way using high-speed cameras. The high cost of the equipment and the technical challenges of monitoring multiple parameters of the sample at once and processing the associated signals prevent more widespread use of optical mapping in the biological community.

To address this, the authors of the paper developed an open-source and expansible system that simultaneously tracks cardiac electrical excitation and intracellular calcium dynamics. Every system component, excluding cameras, lenses, and pumps, was 3D-printed. Since the designs of all components are now openly available, any laboratory can recreate a similar tool. The authors calculated that this could save other researchers up to $20,000, compared with commercially available products. Along with the designs, the team open-sourced the code of their Matlab-based RHYTHM software for signal processing.

"We made it a priority that physiologists would have access to the software, because they may lack the programming skills needed to code in C++, for example," comments study co-author Roman Syunyaev, a leading researcher at MIPT's Human Physiology Lab. "The current version of the software has a number of modules for analyzing the action potential and calcium transients [figure 2]. But the architecture allows one to add a new module to enable simultaneous measurement of metabolic changes (NADH concentration), for example."

"Although the excitation propagation in the heart muscle is associated with an interaction between multiple complex phenomena, it is usually the case that researchers can only measure one parameter. Studies using multiparametric mapping are still uncommon," adds Syunyaev.

"Our laboratory maintains an open data policy," says professor Igor Efimov of the George Washington University, who also heads the Human Physiology Lab at MIPT. Not many research teams nowadays can afford the expensive equipment for optical mapping. Now they can use our designs to recreate an affordable system just like the one we used. And they can process the data with RHYTHM. A further advantage of our tool is that it offers the freedom to design new experiments on diverse samples."
-end-


Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Related Arrhythmias Articles:

Link between alcohol consumption and cardiac arrhythmias
Researchers who studied beer drinkers at the Munich Octoberfest have found that the more alcohol consumed the higher was the likelihood of developing abnormal heart rhythms called cardiac arrhythmias.
Macrophage-dependent IL-1β production induces cardiac arrhythmias in diabetic mice
One of the most serious complications of diabetes, heart arrhythmias, is now on its way to be prevented and combated.
Heart defects identified in progeria patients that increase the risk of arrhythmias and premature death
The findings of this study, published in PNAS, open the path to the development of new treatments to correct these characteristic defects associated with progeria.
High doses of caffeine didn't induce arrhythmias in patients with heart failure
A small randomized clinical trial found that drinking high doses of caffeine did not induce arrhythmias in patients with systolic heart failure and at high risk for ventricular arrhythmias, results that challenge the perception that patients with heart disease and risk for arrhythmia should limit their caffeine intake, according to a new study published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.
The heart-brain connection: The link between LQTS and seizures
Patients carrying certain mutations that cause Long QT Syndrome, a rare cardiac rhythm disorder, have an increased risk for developing seizures and have more severe cardiac symptoms.
New study finds link between omega-3 supplementation and reduced hospital stays
A new meta-analysis published in Clinical Nutrition found that cardiac surgery patients who received omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in advance of surgery experienced reduced postoperative cardiac arrhythmias and reduced the length of stay in the hospital by up to 2.4 days.
High levels of intense exercise may be unhealthy for the heart
There is growing evidence that high levels of intense exercise may be cardiotoxic and promote permanent structural changes in the heart, which can, in some individuals, predispose them to experience arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm).
Studying cardiac arrhythmias in nematodes
Researchers at the Goethe University have developed a simple model using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans that can be used to test substances for treating genetically mediated cardiac arrhythmias.
Predicting arrhythmias so as to prevent them
Researchers have discovered how to predict some cardiac arrhythmias several steps before they even occur.
Gene associated with sudden cardiac death identified by ICD monitoring
A gene associated with sudden cardiac death in the general population has been identified using implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) monitoring in research presented for the first time at ESC Congress today.

Related Arrhythmias Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Changing The World
What does it take to change the world for the better? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on activism—what motivates it, why it matters, and how each of us can make a difference. Guests include civil rights activist Ruby Sales, labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, author Jeremy Heimans, "craftivist" Sarah Corbett, and designer and futurist Angela Oguntala.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#521 The Curious Life of Krill
Krill may be one of the most abundant forms of life on our planet... but it turns out we don't know that much about them. For a create that underpins a massive ocean ecosystem and lives in our oceans in massive numbers, they're surprisingly difficult to study. We sit down and shine some light on these underappreciated crustaceans with Stephen Nicol, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania, Scientific Advisor to the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting Companies, and author of the book "The Curious Life of Krill: A Conservation Story from the Bottom of the World".