A team led by Johns Hopkins engineers has found that modeling the heart in 3D using combined imaging techniques can help predict heart rhythm abnormalities, called arrhythmias, in patients with a genetic heart disease. This approach could one day help clinicians determine which patients with a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy might benefit from the implantation of a defibrillator. The team’s study appears today in eLife.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy causes thickening and scarring in the heart muscles. Some people may not have clear symptoms of the condition, but others may develop heart rhythm abnormalities that can lead to sudden death.
“There are ways to predict which patients are at risk of developing heart arrhythmias and who might benefit from a defibrillator but these methods are not accurate,” explains study first author Ryan O’Hara, a doctoral candidate in the laboratory of Natalia Trayanova, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. “We wanted to develop a more accurate and personalized approach for predicting abnormal heart rhythms in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.”