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  • Journal article
    Meyer H, Dawes T, Serrani M, Bai W, Tokarczuk P, Cai J, Simoes Monteiro de Marvao A, Henry A, Lumbers T, Gierten J, Thumberger T, Wittbrodt J, Ware J, Rueckert D, Matthews P, Prasad S, Costantino M, Cook S, Birney E, O'Regan Det al., 2020,

    Genetic and functional insights into the fractal structure of the heart

    , Nature, Vol: 584, Pages: 589-594, ISSN: 0028-0836

    The inner surfaces of the human heart are covered by a complex network of muscular strands that is thought to be a vestigeof embryonic development.1,2 The function of these trabeculae in adults and their genetic architecture are unknown. Toinvestigate this we performed a genome-wide association study using fractal analysis of trabecular morphology as animage-derived phenotype in 18,096 UK Biobank participants. We identified 16 significant loci containing genes associatedwith haemodynamic phenotypes and regulation of cytoskeletal arborisation.3,4 Using biomechanical simulations and humanobservational data, we demonstrate that trabecular morphology is an important determinant of cardiac performance. Throughgenetic association studies with cardiac disease phenotypes and Mendelian randomisation, we find a causal relationshipbetween trabecular morphology and cardiovascular disease risk. These findings suggest an unexpected role for myocardialtrabeculae in the function of the adult heart, identify conserved pathways that regulate structural complexity, and reveal theirinfluence on susceptibility to disease

  • Journal article
    Whinnett Z, Sohaib SMA, Mason M, Duncan E, Tanner M, Lefroy D, Al-Obaidi M, Ellery S, Leyva-Leon F, Betts T, Dayer M, Foley P, Swinburn J, Thomas M, Khiani R, Wong T, Yousef Z, Rogers D, Kalra P, Dhileepan V, March K, Howard J, Kyriacou A, Mayet J, Kanagaratnam P, Frenneaux M, Hughes A, Francis Det al., 2019,

    Multicenter randomized controlled crossover trial comparing hemodynamic optimization against echocardiographic optimization of AV and VV delay of Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy: The BRAVO Trial

    , JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, Vol: 12, Pages: 1407-1416, ISSN: 1936-878X

    ObjectivesBRAVO (British Randomized Controlled Trial of AV and VV Optimization) is a multicenter, randomized, crossover, noninferiority trial comparing echocardiographic optimization of atrioventricular (AV) and interventricular delay with a noninvasive blood pressure method.BackgroundCardiac resynchronization therapy including AV delay optimization confers clinical benefit, but the optimization requires time and expertise to perform.MethodsThis study randomized patients to echocardiographic optimization or hemodynamic optimization using multiple-replicate beat-by-beat noninvasive blood pressure at baseline; after 6 months, participants were crossed over to the other optimization arm of the trial. The primary outcome was exercise capacity, quantified as peak exercise oxygen uptake. Secondary outcome measures were echocardiographic left ventricular (LV) remodeling, quality-of-life scores, and N-terminal pro–B-type natriuretic peptide.ResultsA total of 401 patients were enrolled, the median age was 69 years, 78% of patients were men, and the New York Heart Association functional class was II in 84% and III in 16%. The primary endpoint, peak oxygen uptake, met the criterion for noninferiority (pnoninferiority = 0.0001), with no significant difference between the hemodynamically optimized arm and echocardiographically optimized arm of the trial (mean difference 0.1 ml/kg/min). Secondary endpoints for noninferiority were also met for symptoms (mean difference in Minnesota score 1; pnoninferiority = 0.002) and hormonal changes (mean change in N-terminal pro–B-type natriuretic peptide -10 pg/ml; pnoninferiority = 0.002). There was no significant difference in LV size (mean change in LV systolic dimension 1 mm; pnoninferiority < 0.001; LV diastolic dimension 0 mm; pnoninferiority <0.001). In 30% of patients the AV delay identified as optimal was more than 20 ms from the nominal setting of 120 ms.ConclusionsOptimization of cardiac resynchronization therapy

  • Journal article
    Odening KE, Deiß S, Dilling-Boer D, Didenko M, Eriksson U, Nedios S, Ng FS, Roca Luque I, Sanchez Borque P, Vernooy K, Wijnmaalen AP, Yorgun Het al., 2019,

    Mechanisms of sex differences in atrial fibrillation: role of hormones and differences in electrophysiology, structure, function, and remodelling

    , EP-Europace, Vol: 21, Pages: 366-376, ISSN: 1099-5129

    Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the clinically most prevalent rhythm disorder with large impact on quality of life and increased risk for hospitalizations and mortality in both men and women. In recent years, knowledge regarding epidemiology, risk factors, and patho-physiological mechanisms of AF has greatly increased. Sex differences have been identified in the prevalence, clinical presentation, associated comorbidities, and therapy outcomes of AF. Although it is known that age-related prevalence of AF is lower in women than in men, women have worse and often atypical symptoms and worse quality of life as well as a higher risk for adverse events such as stroke and death associated with AF. In this review, we evaluate what is known about sex differences in AF mechanisms-covering structural, electrophysiological, and hormonal factors-and underscore areas of knowledge gaps for future studies. Increasing our understanding of mechanisms accounting for these sex differences in AF is important both for prognostic purposes and the optimization of (targeted, mechanism-based, and sex-specific) therapeutic approaches.

  • Journal article
    Cantwell C, Mohamied Y, Tzortzis K, Garasto S, Houston C, Chowdhury R, Ng F, Bharath A, Peters N, Cantwell CD, Mohamied Y, Tzortzis KN, Garasto S, Houston C, Chowdhury RA, Ng FS, Bharath AA, Peters NSet al., 2019,

    Rethinking multiscale cardiac electrophysiology with machine learning and predictive modelling

    , Computers in Biology and Medicine, Vol: 104, Pages: 339-351, ISSN: 0010-4825

    We review some of the latest approaches to analysing cardiac electrophysiology data using machine learning and predictive modelling. Cardiac arrhythmias, particularly atrial fibrillation, are a major global healthcare challenge. Treatment is often through catheter ablation, which involves the targeted localised destruction of regions of the myocardium responsible for initiating or perpetuating the arrhythmia. Ablation targets are either anatomically defined, or identified based on their functional properties as determined through the analysis of contact intracardiac electrograms acquired with increasing spatial density by modern electroanatomic mapping systems. While numerous quantitative approaches have been investigated over the past decades for identifying these critical curative sites, few have provided a reliable and reproducible advance in success rates. Machine learning techniques, including recent deep-learning approaches, offer a potential route to gaining new insight from this wealth of highly complex spatio-temporal information that existing methods struggle to analyse. Coupled with predictive modelling, these techniques offer exciting opportunities to advance the field and produce more accurate diagnoses and robust personalised treatment. We outline some of these methods and illustrate their use in making predictions from the contact electrogram and augmenting predictive modelling tools, both by more rapidly predicting future states of the system and by inferring the parameters of these models from experimental observations.

  • Journal article
    Kim M-Y, Sikkel MB, Hunter RJ, Haywood GA, Tomlinson DR, Tayebjee MH, Ali R, Cantwell CD, Gonna H, Sandler B, Limb E, Furniss G, Mrcp DP, Begg G, Dhillon G, Hill NJ, O'Neill J, Francis DP, Lim PB, Peters NS, Linton NWF, Kanagaratnam Pet al., 2018,

    A novel approach to mapping the atrial ganglionated plexus network by generating a distribution probability atlas

    , Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, Vol: 29, Pages: 1624-1634, ISSN: 1045-3873

    INTRODUCTION: The ganglionated plexuses (GPs) of the intrinsic cardiac autonomic system are implicated in arrhythmogenesis. GP localization by stimulation of the epicardial fat pads to produce atrioventricular dissociating (AVD) effects is well described. We determined the anatomical distribution of the left atrial GPs that influence AV dissociation. METHODS AND RESULTS: High frequency stimulation was delivered through a Smart-Touch™ catheter in the left atrium of patients undergoing atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation. 3D locations of points tested throughout the entire chamber were recorded on the CARTO™ system. Impact on the AV conduction was categorized as ventricular asystole, bradycardia or no effect. CARTO™ maps were exported, registered and transformed onto a reference left atrial geometry using a custom software, enabling data from multiple patients to be overlaid. In 28 patients, 2108 locations were tested and 283 sites (13%) demonstrated atrioventricular dissociation effects (AVD-GP). There were 10 AVD-GPs (IQR 11.5) per patient. 80% (226) produced asystole and 20% (57) showed bradycardia. The distribution of the two groups were very similar. Highest probability of AVD-GPs (>20%) were identified in: infero-septal portion (41%) and right inferior pulmonary vein base (30%) of the posterior wall, right superior pulmonary vein antrum (31%). CONCLUSION: It is feasible to map the entire left atrium for AVD-GPs prior to AF ablation. Aggregated data from multiple patients, producing a distribution probability atlas of AVD-GPs, identified three regions with a higher likelihood for finding AVD-GPs and these matched the histological descriptions. This approach could be used to better characterise the autonomic network. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  • Journal article
    Arnold A, Shun-Shin M, Keene D, Howard J, Sohaib S, wright I, Cole G, Qureshi N, lefroy D, Koa-Wing M, Linton N, Lim P, Peters N, Davies D, muthumala A, Tanner M, ellenbogen K, Kanagaratnam P, Francis D, Whinnett Zet al., 2018,

    His resynchronization versus biventricular pacing in patients with heart failure and left bundle branch block

    , Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Vol: 72, Pages: 3112-3122, ISSN: 0735-1097

    Background His bundle pacing is a new method for delivering cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT).Objectives The authors performed a head-to-head, high-precision, acute crossover comparison between His bundle pacing and conventional biventricular CRT, measuring effects on ventricular activation and acute hemodynamic function.Methods Patients with heart failure and left bundle branch block referred for conventional biventricular CRT were recruited. Using noninvasive epicardial electrocardiographic imaging, the authors identified patients in whom His bundle pacing shortened left ventricular activation time. In these patients, the authors compared the hemodynamic effects of His bundle pacing against biventricular pacing using a high-multiple repeated alternation protocol to minimize the effect of noise, as well as comparing effects on ventricular activation.Results In 18 of 23 patients, left ventricular activation time was significantly shortened by His bundle pacing. Seventeen patients had a complete electromechanical dataset. In them, His bundle pacing was more effective at delivering ventricular resynchronization than biventricular pacing: greater reduction in QRS duration (−18.6 ms; 95% confidence interval [CI]: −31.6 to −5.7 ms; p = 0.007), left ventricular activation time (−26 ms; 95% CI: −41 to −21 ms; p = 0.002), and left ventricular dyssynchrony index (−11.2 ms; 95% CI: −16.8 to −5.6 ms; p < 0.001). His bundle pacing also produced a greater acute hemodynamic response (4.6 mm Hg; 95% CI: 0.2 to 9.1 mm Hg; p = 0.04). The incremental activation time reduction with His bundle pacing over biventricular pacing correlated with the incremental hemodynamic improvement with His bundle pacing over biventricular pacing (R = 0.70; p = 0.04).Conclusions His resynchronization delivers better ventricular resynchronization, and greater improvement in hemodynamic parameters, than biventricular pacing.

  • Journal article
    Smith JGW, Owen T, Bhagwan JR, Mosqueira D, Scott E, Mannhardt I, Patel A, Barriales-Villa R, Monserrat L, Hansen A, Eschenhagen T, Harding SE, Marston S, Denning Cet al., 2018,

    Isogenic pairs of hiPSC-CMs with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy/LVNC-associated ACTC1 E99K mutation unveil differential functional deficits

    , Stem Cell Reports, Vol: 11, Pages: 1226-1243, ISSN: 2213-6711

    Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a primary disorder of contractility in heart muscle. To gain mechanistic insight and guide pharmacological rescue, this study models HCM using isogenic pairs of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) carrying the E99K-ACTC1 cardiac actin mutation. In both 3D engineered heart tissues and 2D monolayers, arrhythmogenesis was evident in all E99K-ACTC1 hiPSC-CMs. Aberrant phenotypes were most common in hiPSC-CMs produced from the heterozygote father. Unexpectedly, pathological phenotypes were less evident in E99K-expressing hiPSC-CMs from the two sons. Mechanistic insight from Ca2+ handling expression studies prompted pharmacological rescue experiments, wherein dual dantroline/ranolazine treatment was most effective. Our data are consistent with E99K mutant protein being a central cause of HCM but the three-way interaction between the primary genetic lesion, background (epi)genetics, and donor patient age may influence the pathogenic phenotype. This illustrates the value of isogenic hiPSC-CMs in genotype-phenotype correlations.

  • Journal article
    Handa BS, Roney CH, Houston C, Qureshi N, Li X, Pitcher DS, Chowdhury RA, Lim PB, Dupont E, Niederer S, Cantwell C, Peters NS, Ng FSet al., 2018,

    Analytical approaches for myocardial fibrillation signals

    , Computers in Biology and Medicine, Vol: 102, Pages: 315-326, ISSN: 0010-4825

    Atrial and ventricular fibrillation are complex arrhythmias, and their underlying mechanisms remain widely debated and incompletely understood. This is partly because the electrical signals recorded during myocardial fibrillation are themselves complex and difficult to interpret with simple analytical tools. There are currently a number of analytical approaches to handle fibrillation data. Some of these techniques focus on mapping putative drivers of myocardial fibrillation, such as dominant frequency, organizational index, Shannon entropy and phase mapping. Other techniques focus on mapping the underlying myocardial substrate sustaining fibrillation, such as voltage mapping and complex fractionated electrogram mapping. In this review, we discuss these techniques, their application and their limitations, with reference to our experimental and clinical data. We also describe novel tools including a new algorithm to map microreentrant circuits sustaining fibrillation.

  • Journal article
    Ciaccio EJ, Peters NS, Garan H, 2018,

    Use of an automaton model to suggest methods for cessation of intractable fibrillatory activity

    , Computers in Biology and Medicine, Vol: 102, Pages: 357-368, ISSN: 0010-4825

    BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart arrhythmia, and permanent AF is an intractable medical problem. If cessation of permanent AF were possible, via extensive substrate ablation or multisite stimulation, it could significantly improve the public health. METHOD: A cellular automaton composed of 576 × 576 computerized grid nodes, described in detail previously, was used to test hypotheses concerning the cessation of fibrillatory electrical activity. A refractory period gradient across the grid, and addition of randomly located nonconducting fibers, were utilized as conditions leading to fibrillatory activity. A premature S1-S2 stimulus was applied to one grid corner, resulting in unidirectional conduction block at some locations, followed by rotational activity and random propagation of activation wavelets throughout the grid, none of which terminated spontaneously. Simulated ablation lesions of dimension 20 × 20 grid nodes, imparted at core locations of rotational activity, and multisite electrode stimulation (MES) applied at nodes where recovery of excitability had occurred, were used in attempts to terminate fibrillatory activity. Six impositions of random fiber location were utilized in separate trials. RESULTS: Simulated ablation lesions eliminated the targeted swirling vortices; however, additional vortices then often appeared at other locations. After ablating approximately one third of the grid area, localized vortices were eliminated, but individual wavelets continued to propagate about longer viable pathways forming at ablation lesions. Thus extensive ablation was unsuccessful in terminating arrhythmia. However, MES applied uniformly throughout the grid, with a coupling interval slightly longer than the maximum refractory period, terminated fibrillatory activity in some trials. More efficaciously, application of MES with a coupling interval half the maximum refractory period of the grid succeeded in capture of activation

  • Journal article
    Ferreira-Martins J, Howard J, Al-Khayatt BM, Shalhoub J, Sohaib A, Shun-Shin M, Novak P, Leather R, Sterns L, Lane C, Lim P, Kanagaratnam P, Peters N, Francis D, Sikkel Met al., 2018,

    Outcomes of paroxysmal AF ablation studies are affected more by study design and patient mix than ablation technique

    , Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, Vol: 29, Pages: 1471-1479, ISSN: 1045-3873

    Objective: We tested whether ablation methodology and study design can explain the varying outcomes in terms of AF-free survival at 1 year.Background:There have been numerous paroxysmal AF ablation trials, which are heterogeneous in their use of different ablation techniques and study design. A useful approach to understanding how these factors influence outcome is to dismantle the trials into individual arms and reconstitute them as a large meta-regression.Methods: Data was collected from 66 studies (6941 patients). With freedom from AF as the dependent variable, we performed meta-regression using the individual study arm as the unit.Results: Success rates did not change regardless of the technique used to produce pulmonary vein isolation. Neither were adjunctive lesion sets associated with any improvement in outcome.Studies that included more males and fewer hypertensive patients were found more likely to report better outcomes. ECG method selected to assess outcome also plays an important role. Outcomes were worse in studies that used regular telemonitoring (by 23%, p<0.001) or in patients who had implantable loop recorders (by 21%, p=0.006), rather than less thorough periodic Holter monitoring.Conclusions: Outcomes of AF ablation studies involving pulmonary vein isolation are not affected by the technologies used to produce PVI. Neither do adjunctive lesion sets change the outcome. Achieving high success rates in these studies appears to be dependent more on patient mix and on the thoroughness of AF detection protocols. This should be carefully considered when quoting success rates of AF ablation procedures which are derived from such studies.

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