Technical advances in cardiovascular electrophysiology have resulted in an increasing number of catheter ablation procedures reaching 200 000 in Europe for the year 2013. These advanced interventions are often complex and time consuming and may cause significant radiation exposure. Furthermore, a substantial number of ablation procedures remain associated with poor (initial) outcomes and frequently require ≥1 redo procedures. Innovations in modalities for substrate imaging could facilitate our understanding of the arrhythmogenic substrate, improve the design of patient-specific ablation strategies and improve the results of ablation procedures.

Cardiac magnetic resonance
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) can be considered the most comprehensive and suitable modality for the complete electrophysiology and catheter ablation workup (including patient selection, procedural guidance, and [procedural] follow-up). Utilizing inversion recovery CMR, fibrotic myocardium can be visualized and quantified 10–15 min after intravenous administration of Gadolinium contrast. This imaging technique is known as late Gadolinium enhancement (LGE) imaging. Experimental models have shown excellent agreement between size and shape in LGE CMR and areas of myocardial infarction by histopathology. Recent studies have also demonstrated how scar size, shape and location from pre-procedural LGE can be useful in guiding ventricular tachycardia’s (VT) ablation or atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation. These procedures are often time-consuming due to the preceding electrophysiological mapping study required to identify slow conduction zones involved in re-entry circuits. Post-processed LGE images provide scar maps, which could be integrated with electroanatomic mapping systems to facilitate these procedures.

Inverse potential mapping
Through the years, various noninvasive electrocardiographic imaging techniques have emerged that estimate epicardial potentials or myocardial activation times from potentials recorded on the thorax. Utilizing an inverse procedure, the potentials on the heart surface or activation times of the myocardium are estimated with the recorded body surface potentials as source data. Although this procedure only estimates the time course of unipolar epicardial electrograms, several studies have demonstrated that the epicardial potentials and electrograms provide substantial information about intramyocardial activity and have great potential to facilitate risk-stratification and generate personalized ablation strategies.

Objectives of this thesis
1. To evaluate the utility of cardiac magnetic resonance derived geometrical and tissue characteristic information for patient stratification and guidance of AF ablation.
2. To design and evaluate the performance of a finite element model based inverse potential mapping in predicting the arrhythmogenic focus in idiopathic ventricular tachycardia using invasive electro-anatomical activation mapping as a reference standard.

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F. Zijlstra (Felix) , M.J.W. Götte (Marco) , N.M.S. de Groot (Natasja)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Nederlandse Hartstichting (Netherlands Heart Foundation)
Department of Cardiology

Bhagirath, P. (2017, October 20). Design and clinical validation of novel imaging strategies for analysis of arrhythmogenic substrate. Retrieved from