Rheeda Ali
Ph.D. Student

+44 (0)20 7594 6377
Room 4.35, RSM

Topic: Modelling of cardiac arrhythmias using a spectral h/p element method


Action potentials in the heart are essential for coordinated contractions of cardiac muscle, the interruption of which can result in cardiac arrhythmia, a condition that often leads to cardiac failure. Arrhythmias can be caused by aberrations in the hearts electrical system including abnormal initiation of the cardiac excitation in the Sino Atrial Node and abnormal propagation of cardiac excitation. Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of arrhythmia, affecting over 10% of the over 75 population. Even though AF is usually not fatal, it is a risk factor for stroke and other complications. AF can be classified as paroxysmal AF, where symptoms usually come and go within forty-eight hours, or as persistent AF where the patient can be symptomatic for months or years. A current treatment for AF is Radio Frequency Ablation, where energy is applied to the cardiac tissue, creating non-conducting lesions in the atrial endocardial wall.  A common treatment for paroxysmal AF is Pulmonary Vein Isolation that electrically isolates the four pulmonary veins.  However, persistent AF is a more complicated disease to treat, since it can be caused by different factors including structural changes to the tissue) as well as electrical remodeling. Computer models of the atria have been developed to gain insight into atrial electrophysiology. The central aim of the PhD is to develop a patient-specific atrial model using a spectral h/p element method. The hypotheses addressed are (1) A numerical model can be developed which can inform ablation strategies and (2) The numerical model can be used to identify patients in which the arrhythmia is most likely perpetuated by a rotor and aid the location of the rotor tip for ablation.