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Posts Tagged ‘Electrocardiography’


Pacemakers, Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD) and Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)

Curators: Justin D Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Updated on 2/16/2015

Mild, non-ischemic heart failure might be more deadly than thought, an Austrian group found, calling for broader ICD use.

SOURCE

http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/Strokes/50048?isalert=1&uun=g99985d3527R5099207u&utm_source=breaking-news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-news&xid=NL_breakingnews_2015-02-16

 

The voice of our Series A Content Consultant: Justin D Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC

Pacemakers place one or more wires into heart muscle to trigger electro-mechanically coupled contraction. A single wire to the right atrium is called an AAI pacemaker (atrial sensing, atrial triggering, inhibit triggering if sensed). A single wire to the right ventricle is called a VVI pacemaker (ventricular sensing, ventricular triggering, inhibit if sensed). With two wires to the heart more combinations are possible, including atrial-ventricular sequential activation, a closer mimic to normal function (DDDR pacemaker: dual sensing, dual triggering, dual functions, and rate-responsive to mimic exercise adjustment of heart rate). Three wires are used for synchronization: one to the right atrium, one to the right ventricle apex, and a third lead into a distal branch of the coronary sinus to activate the far side of the left ventricle. Resynchronization is used to compensate for a dilated ventricle, especially one with conduction delays, where the timing of activation is so unbalanced that the heart contraction approaches a wobbling motion rather than a well coordinated contraction. Adjusting timing of activation of the right ventricle and left ventricle can offset dysynchrony (unbalanced timing) and thereby increase the amount of blood ejected by each heart beat contraction (ejection fraction). Patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and significant conduction delays can improve the ejection fraction by 10 or more percentage points, which offers a significant improvement in exertion tolerance and heart failure symptoms.

Patients with ejection fraction below 35%, among others, have an elevated risk of life-ending arrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia. Ventricular tachycardia is an extreme example of a wobbling heart in which the electrical activation sequence circles around the heart sequentially activating a portion and blocking its ability to respond until the electric signal comes around again. Whenever a portion of the heart is activated, ions shift location, and further activation of that region is not possible until sufficient time passes so that the compartmentalized ion concentrations can be restored (repolarization). Pacing can interrupt ventricular tachycardia by depolarizing a region that supported the circular activation pattern. Failing that, an electric shock can stop an ineffective rhythm. After all regions stop activation, they will generally reactivate in the normal pulsatile synchronous manner. An implanted cardiac defibrillator is a device designed to apply an internal electric shock to pause all activation and thereby interrupt ventricular tachycardia.
UPDATED on 12/31/2013

Published on Friday, 27 December 2013

S-ICD – Subcutaneous Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator – Boston Scientific

Boston Scientific Subcutaneous Implantable Cardiodefibrillator Device S-ICD

S-ICD – Subcutaneous Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator – Boston Scientific

Boston Scientific Subcutaneous Implantable Cardiodefibrillator Device S-ICD

‘Regular’ Pacemaker/ICD with Leads and a ‘Can’
When we think of Pacemakers and ICD’s we naturally think of a ‘Can’ and Leads that track down into the heart. Whilst these devices work fantastically well and will continue to do so. Unfortunately the ‘lead’ part of the device opens the door for a few complications to possibly arise. Those who have a Pacemaker or ICD will probably be familiar with concerns over;
  1. Systemic Infection – Infections travelling down the Leads into the Heart
  2. Lead Displacement – The Lead moving away from the heart tissue and thus becoming pretty useless.
  3. Vascular/Organ Injury – Damage to the blood vessels being used for access or perforation of heart wall.
  4. Pneumothorax (damage to the lining around the Lung), Haemothorax (build up of blood in the chest cavity), and air embolism (air bubble trapped in a blood vessel).
These complications are one of the key motivations behind developing ‘leadless’ devices the first of which the St Jude Nanostim, a small VVI Pacemaker that fits directly into the heart.
Another device to address these issues is the Boston Scientific S-ICD

What is the Boston Scientific S-ICD?

The S-ICD is what is sometimes referred to as a ‘shock box’ it does not have the pacemaker functionality that many other ICD’s do have. It is ONLY there to terminate dangerous Arrhythmias.
*It does not have the pacing functionality of traditional ICD‘s because it DOES NOT HAVE A LEAD THAT ENTERS THE HEART.*
It is not a Pacemaker!
 
Without the lead(s) ENTERING the heart via a blood vessel there is a reduction in the risks mentioned previously that are associated traditional device. Another of the benefits is that the S-ICD is positioned and implanted using anatomical landmarks (visible parts of your body) and not Fluoroscopy (video X-Ray) which reduces radiation exposure to the patient.

Positioning of the S-ICD.

Boston Scientific Subcutaneous Implantable Cardiodefibrillator Device S-ICD

The ‘Can‘ (metal box that contains all the circuitry and battery), is buried under the skin on the outside of the ribs. Put your arms down by your sides, the device would go where your ribs meet the middle of your bicep. A lead is then run under the skin to the centre of your chest where its is anchored and then north, under the skin again until the tip of the lead is roughly at the top of the sternum.
For you physicians out there the ‘can’ is positioned at the mid-axillary line between the 5th and 6th intercostal spaces, the lead is then tunnelled to a small Xiphoid incision and then tunnelled north to a superior incision.

How is an S-ICD Implanted?

VIEW VIDEO
Having spoken to Boston Scientific it is becoming more apparent that the superior incision (cut at the top of the chest) may actually be removed from the procedure guidance as simply tunnelling the lead and ‘wedging’ the tip at that point is satisfactory – THIS IS NOT CONFIRMED AT THE MOMENT AND IS THEREFORE NOT PROCEDURE ADVICE.
Boston Scientific Subcutaneous Implantable Cardiodefibrillator Device S-ICD
Image Courtesy of
http://www.bostonscientific.com/

How does the S-ICD Work?

A ‘Shock Box’ basically needs to do 2 things. Firstly be able to SENSE if the heart has entered a Dangerous Arrhythmia and Secondly, be able to treat it.
The treatment part of the functionality is the easy bit – it delivers an electric shock across a ‘circuit’ that involves a large amount of the tissue in the heart. The lead has two ‘electrodes’ and the ‘Can’ is a third electrode allowing you different shocking ‘vectors’. By vectors we mean directions and area through which the electricity travels during a shock. This gives us extra options when implanting a device as some vectors will work better than others for the treatment of dangerous arrhythmias.

Shocking Vectors?

This is a concept you are familiar with without even thinking about it… when you are watching ER or another TV program and they Defibrillate the patient using the metal paddles, where do they position them? One either side of the heart? Precisely!! this is creating a ‘vector’ across the heart to involve the cardiac tissue. The paddles would be a lot less effective if you put one on the knee and one on the foot!

Boston Scientific Subcutaneous Implantable Cardiodefibrillator Device S-ICD

Now because the ‘Vectors’ used by the S-ICD are over a larger area than those with a traditional device – more energy has to be delivered to have the same desired affect. The upshot of this is that a larger battery is required to deliver the 80J! Bigger Battery = Bigger Box. This image shows a demo device but this is the exact size compared to a One Pound Coin! Now yes it is big but because of the extra room where they place the device it is pretty discrete and hidden in even slender patients.
STAT ATTACK!
The S-ICD System delivers up to 5 shocks per episode at 80 J with up to 128 seconds of ECG storage per episode and storage of up to 45 episodes.
The heart rate that the S-ICD is told to deliver therapy is programable between 170 and 250 bpm. Quite cleverly the device is able to also deliver a small amount of ‘pacing’ after a shock, when the heart can often run slowly. This is external pacing and will be felt!! It can run for 30s.

Sensing in an S-ICD.

 
The S-ICD uses its electrodes to produce an ECG similar to a surface ECG. 
 
Now the Sensing functionality is the devices ability to determine what Rhythm the heart is in! Without a lead in the heart to give us really accurate information the device is using a large area of heart, ribs and muscle. This means there is more potential for ‘artefact’. Artefact is the electrical interference and confusion – that could potentially lead to a patient being shocked when they do not require it – or not being shocked when they do…
Boston Scientific have come up with a very clever software/algorithm called ‘Insight’. Insight uses 3 separate methods to determine the nature of a heart rhythm.
  • Normal Sinus Rhythm Template (Do your heart beats look as they should)
  • Dynamic Morphology Analysis (A live comparison of heart beat to previous heart beat, do they all look the same or do they keep changing?)
  • QRS Width analysis (Are the tall ‘peaks’ on your ECG, the QRS’, wider than they normally are?)
These questions (with some very complex maths) and the rate of a rhythm are used to decide whether to ‘shock’ or not.
Insight Algorithm S-ICD

Image Courtesy of  http://www.bostonscientific.com/

How does Insight and the S-ICD compare to other ICD Devices?

The statistics for treatment success and inappropriate shocks (an electrocuted patient that did not need to be) actually compare very similarly if not favourably compared to other devices on the market – these two studies are well worth a read if you have the time 🙂
1. Burke M, et al. Safety and Efficacy of a Subcutaneous Implantable-Debrillator (S-ICD System US IDE Study). Late-Breaking Abstract Session. HRS 2012.
2. Lambiase PD, et al. International Experience with a Subcutaneous ICD; Preliminary Results of the EFFORTLESS S-ICD Registry. Cardiostim 2012.
3. Gold MR, et al. Head-to-head comparison of arrhythmia discrimination performance of subcutaneous and transvenous ICD arrhythmia detection algorithms: the START study. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2012;23;4:359-366.
Who qualifies?
Template S-ICD Eligibility

Template used to assess eligibility!
Image Courtesy of
http://www.bostonscientific.com/
Well essentially anyone who qualifies for a normal ‘shock box’ ICD but with one other requirement. The Insight Software requires that a person has certain characteristics on their ECG. This is essentially showing that they have tall enough and narrow enough complexes to allow the algorithm to perform effectively. A simple 12 lead ECG Laying and Standing will be obtained and then a ‘Stencil’ is passed over the Print out – If the complexes fit within the boundaries marked on the ‘stencil’ then you potentially qualify. If your ECG does not meet requirements then it will not be recommended for you to have the S-ICD.

There you have it a quick overview of the Boston Scientific S-ICD.

Thanks for Reading

Cardiac Technician

SOURCE

http://www.thepad.pm/2013/12/boston-scientific-s-icd.html#!

UPDATED on 10/15/2013

Frequency and Determinants of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Deployment Among Primary Prevention Candidates With Subsequent Sudden Cardiac Arrest in the Community

  1. Kumar Narayanan, MD;
  2. Kyndaron Reinier, PhD;
  3. Audrey Uy-Evanado, MD;
  4. Carmen Teodorescu, MD, PhD;
  5. Harpriya Chugh, BS;
  6. Eloi Marijon, MD;
  7. Karen Gunson, MD;
  8. Jonathan Jui, MD, MPH;
  9. Sumeet S. Chugh, MD

+Author Affiliations


  1. From The Heart Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA (K.N., K.R., A.U.-E., C.T., H.C., E.M., S.S.C.); and Departments of Pathology (K.G.) and Emergency Medicine (J.J.), Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR.
  1. Correspondence to Sumeet S. Chugh, MD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, The Heart Institute, AHSP Suite A3100, 127 S. San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, Los Angeles, CA 90048. E-mail sumeet.chugh@cshs.org

Abstract

Background—The prevalence rates and influencing factors for deployment of primary prevention implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) among subjects who eventually experience sudden cardiac arrest in the general population have not been evaluated.

Methods and Results—Cases of adult sudden cardiac arrest with echocardiographic evaluation before the event were identified from the ongoing Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study (population approximately 1 million). Eligibility for primary ICD implantation was determined from medical records based on established guidelines. The frequency of prior primary ICD implantation in eligible subjects was evaluated, and ICD nonrecipients were characterized. Of 2093 cases (2003–2012), 448 had appropriate pre– sudden cardiac arrest left ventricular ejection fraction information available. Of these, 92 (20.5%) were eligible for primary ICD implantation, 304 (67.9%) were ineligible because of left ventricular ejection fraction >35%, and the remainder (52, 11.6%) had left ventricular ejection fraction ≤35% but were ineligible on the basis of clinical guideline criteria. Among eligible subjects, only 12 (13.0%; 95% confidence interval, 6.1%–19.9%) received a primary ICD. Compared with recipients, primary ICD nonrecipients were older (age at ejection fraction assessment, 67.1±13.6 versus 58.5±14.8 years, P=0.05), with 20% aged ≥80 years (versus 0% among recipients, P=0.11). Additionally, a subgroup (26%) had either a clinical history of dementia or were undergoing chronic dialysis.

Conclusions—Only one fifth of the sudden cardiac arrest cases in the community were eligible for a primary prevention ICD before the event, but among these, a small proportion (13%) were actually implanted. Although older age and comorbidity may explain nondeployment in a subgroup of these cases, other determinants such as socioeconomic factors, health insurance, patient preference, and clinical practice patterns warrant further detailed investigation.

Key Words:

  • Received March 11, 2013.
  • Accepted August 21, 2013

http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/128/16/1733.abstract

UPDATED on 9/15/2013

based on 9/6/2013 Trials and Fibrillations — The Heart.org

http://www.theheart.org/columns/trials-and-fibrillations-with-dr-john-mandrola/new-post-39.do#!

Echo-CRT trial: Most important study released at ESC 2013

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is a multilead pacing device that can extend lives and improve the quality of life of selected patients who suffer from reduced performance of the heart due to adverse timing of contraction (wobbling motion from conduction delays that cause asynchrony or  delayed activation of one portion of the left ventricle compared to others reducing net blood ejection).

The degree of benefit in CRT responders depends not only on the degree of asynchrony, but also on the delayed activity location in relation to the available locations for lead placement. CRT is an adjustment in the timing of muscle activiation to improve the concerted impact on blood ejection. Only patients likely to improve should be exposed to the risks and costs of CRT.

The Echo-CRT trial, presented September 3, 2013 at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) 2013 Congressand simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine, helps identify which patients may benefit from CRT devices. (See Steve Stiles’ report on heartwire),

Echo-CRT trial summary

Background is important

Previous CRT studies enrolled patients with QRS duration >120 or >130 ms for synchronizing biventricular pacing. Additional work confirmed the greatest benefit occurred in patients with QRS durations >150 ms and typical left bundle branch block (LBBB). Conflicting observational and small randomized trials were less clear for patients with shorter QRS durations—the majority of heart-failure patients. What’s more, most cardiologists have seen patients with “modest” QRS durations respond to CRT. In theory, wide QRS is only expected if the axis of significant delay projects onto the standard ECG views, whereas significant opportunity for benefit can be missed if the axis of significant delay is not wide in the standard views. CRT implanters have heard of patients with normal-duration QRS where echo shows marked dyssynchrony. This raised the  question: Are there CHF patients with mechanical dyssynchrony (determined by echo) but no electrical delay (as measured by the ECG) benefit from CRT?Unfortunately, echo does not resolve the issue either. Thus there is the residual question of who should be evaluated by a true 3D syncrhony assessment by cardiac MRI.

Echocardiographic techniques held promise to identify mechanical dyssynchrony, but like the standard 12 lead ECG, they also utilize limited orientations of views of the heart and hence the directions in which delays can be detected. Cardiac MRI Research (not limited in view angle) by JDPearlman showed that the axis of maximal delay in patients with asynchrony is within 30 degrees of the ECG and echo views in a majority of patients with asynchrony, but it can be 70-110 degrees away from the views used by echocardiography and by ECG in 20% of cases. Hence some patients who may benefit can be missed by ECG or Echo criteria.

Methodology

Echo-CRT was an industry-sponsored (Biotronik) investigator-initiated prospective international randomized controlled trial. All patients had mechanical dyssynchrony by echo, QRS <130 ms, and an ICD indication. CRT-D devices were implanted in all patients. Blinded randomization to CRT-on (404 patients) vs CRT-off (405 patients) was performed after implantation. Programming in the CRT-off group was set to minimize RV pacing. The primary outcome was a composite of all-cause mortality or hospitalization.

Six key findings

1. Although entry criteria for the trial was a QRS duration <130 ms, the mean QRS duration of both groups was 105 ms.

2. The data safety monitoring board terminated the trial prematurely because of an increased death rate in the CRT group.

3. No differences were noted in the primary outcome.

4. More patients died in the CRT group (hazard ratio=1.8).

5. The higher death rate in the CRT group was driven by cardiovascular death.

6. More patients in the CRT group were hospitalized, due primarily to device-related issues.

These findings send clear and simple messages to all involved with treating patients with heart failure. My interpretation of Echo-CRT is as follows:

Do not implant CRT devices in patients with “narrow” QRS complexes.

The signal of increased death was strong. A hazard ratio of 1.8 translates to an almost doubling of the risk of death. This finding is unlikely to be a statistical anomaly, as it was driven by CV death. The risks of CRT in nonresponders are well-known and include: increased RV pacing, possible proarrhythmia from LV pacing, and the need for more device-related surgery. Patients who do not respond to CRT get none of the benefits but all the potential harms—an unfavorable ratio indeed.

Echo is not useful for assessing dyssynchrony in patients with narrow QRS complexes.

Dr Samuel Asirvatham explains the concept of electropathy in a review article in the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology. He teaches us that the later the LV lateral wall is activated relative to the RV, the more the benefit of preexciting the lateral wall with an LV lead. That’s why the benefit from CRT in many cases increases with QRS duration, because—in a majority—a wide QRS means late activation of the lateral LV.

Simple triumphs over complicated—CRT response best estimated with the old-fashioned ECG.

In a right bundle branch block, the left ventricle is activated first; in LBBB, the LV lateral wall is last, and with a nonspecific ICD, there’s delayed conduction in either the His-Purkinje system or in ventricular muscle. What does a normal QRS say? It says the wave front of activation as projected onto the electric views obtained activates the LV and RV simultaneously. If those views capture the worst delay then they can eliminate the  need for resynchrony.

CRT benefit with mild-moderate QRS prolongation still not settled

Dr Robert Myerburg (here and here) teaches us to make a distinction between trial entry criteria and the actual values of the cohort.

Consider how this applies to QRS duration:  COMPANION and CARE-HF are clinical trials that showed definitive CRT benefit. Entry required a QRS duration >120 ms (130 ms in CARE-HF). But the actual mean QRS duration of enrolled patients was 160 ms. A meta-analysis of CRT trials confirmed benefit at longer QRS durations and questioned it below 150 ms. CRT guideline recommendations incorporate study entry criteria, not the mean values of actual patients in the trial. Patients enrolled in Echo-CRT had very narrow QRS complexes (105 ms). What to recommend in the common situation when a patient with a typical LBBB has a QRS duration straddling 130 ms is not entirely clear. The results of Echo-CRT might have been different had the actual QRS duration values been closer to 130 ms.

Conclusion

Echo-CRT study reinforces expectations based on cardiac physiology. In the practice of medicine, it’s quite useful to know when not to do something.

The trial should not dampen enthusiasm for CRT. Rather, it should focus our attention to patient selection—and the value of the 12-lead ECG.

 References

Rethinking QRS Duration as an Indication for CRT

SMITA MEHTA M.D.1 and SAMUEL J. ASIRVATHAM M.D., F.A.C.C.2,3

Author Information

  1. Department of Pediatric Cardiology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  2. Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  3. Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA

*Samuel J. Asirvatham, M.D., Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine and Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. E-mail: asirvatham.samuel@mayo.edu

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol, Vol. 23, pp. 169-171, February 2012.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-8167.2011.02163.x/full

Indications for Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators Based on Evidence and Judgment FREE

Robert J. Myerburg, MD; Vivek Reddy, MD; Agustin Castellanos, MD
J Am Coll Cardiol. 2009;54(9):747-763. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2009.03.078

Implantable Cardioverter–Defibrillators after Myocardial Infarction

Robert J. Myerburg, M.D.

Division of Cardiology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami.

N Engl J Med 2008; 359:2245-2253 November 20, 2008DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra0803409

END OF UPDATE

Electrical conduction of the Human Heart

  • Physiology and
  • Genetics

were explained by us in the following articles:

Genetics of Conduction Disease: Atrioventricular (AV) Conduction Disease (block): Gene Mutations – Transcription, Excitability, and Energy Homeostasis

On Devices and On Algorithms: Prediction of Arrhythmia after Cardiac Surgery and ECG Prediction of an Onset of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation

Dilated Cardiomyopathy: Decisions on implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) using left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF)

Reduction in Inappropriate Therapy and Mortality through ICD Programming

Below, we present the following complementary topics:

Options for Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) to Arrhythmias:

  • Implantable Pacemaker
  • Insertable Programmable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)

UPDATED 8/6/2013

Medtronic Pacemaker Recall

 

17/07/2013

Australia’s regulatory authority, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has issued a hazard alert pertaining to one of Medtronic’s pacing devices, the Consulta® Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Pacemaker (CRT-P). The alert coincides somewhat with Medtronic’s own issuance of a field safety notice concerning Consulta and Syncra® CRT-P devices.

Background

Consulta and Syncra CRT-Ps are implantable medical devices used to treat heart failure. The devices provide pacing to help coordinate the heart’s pumping action and improve blood flow.

The two devices are the subject of a global manufacturer recall after Medtronic had identified an issue with a subset of both during production, although as yet there had been no reported or confirmed device failures. However, because of the potential for malfunction, Medtronic is requiring the return of non-implanted devices manufactured between April 1 and May 13, 2013 for re-inspection.

Seemingly this manufacturing issue could compromise the sealing of the device. Should an out-of-spec weld fail this could result in body fluids entering the device, which could cause it to malfunction leading to loss of pacing output. This could potentially see the return of symptoms including

  • fainting or lightheadedness,
  • dyspnoea (shortness of breath),
  • fatigue and
  • oedema.

Medtronic’s recall is thought to relate to 265 devices, 44 of which have been implanted in the US.

The Australian warning letter, issued by the TGA states that only one “at risk” Consulta CRT-P device has been implanted in the country and there have been no reports of device failures or patient injuries relating to this issue.

Neither Medtronic nor the TGA are suggesting any specific patient management measures other than routine follow-up in accordance with labelling instructions.

Pacemaker/Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Insertion

Procedure Overview

What is a pacemaker/implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) insertion?

A pacemaker/implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) insertion is a procedure in which a pacemaker and/or an ICD is inserted to assist in regulating problems with the heart rate (pacemaker) or heart rhythm (ICD).

Pacemaker

When a problem develops with the heart’s rhythm, such as a slow rhythm, a pacemaker may be selected for treatment. A pacemaker is a small electronic device composed of three parts: a generator, one or more leads, and an electrode on each lead. A pacemaker signals the heart to beat when the heartbeat is too slow.

Illustration of a single-chamber pacemaker
Click Image to Enlarge

A generator is the “brain” of the pacemaker device. It is a small metal case that contains electronic circuitry and a battery. The lead (or leads) is an insulated wire that is connected to the generator on one end, with the other end placed inside one of the heart’s chambers.

The electrode on the end of the lead touches the heart wall. In most pacemakers, the lead senses the heart’s electrical activity. This information is relayed to the generator by the lead.

If the heart’s rate is slower than the programmed limit, an electrical impulse is sent through the lead to the electrode and the pacemaker’s electrical impulse causes the heart to beat at a faster rate.

When the heart is beating at a rate faster than the programmed limit, the pacemaker will monitor the heart rate, but will not pace. No electrical impulses will be sent to the heart unless the heart’s natural rate falls below the pacemaker’s low limit.

Pacemaker leads may be positioned in the atrium or ventricle or both, depending on the condition requiring the pacemaker to be inserted. An atrial dysrhythmia/arrhythmia (an abnormal heart rhythm caused by a dysfunction of the sinus node or the development of another atrial pacemaker within the heart tissue that takes over the function of the sinus node) may be treated with an atrial pacemaker.

Illustration of a dual-chamber pacemaker
Click Image to Enlarge

A ventricular dysrhythmia/arrhythmia (an abnormal heart rhythm caused by a dysfunction of the sinus node, an interruption in the conduction pathways, or the development of another pacemaker within the heart tissue that takes over the function of the sinus node) may be treated with a ventricular pacemaker whose lead wire is located in the ventricle.

It is possible to have both atrial and ventricular dysrhythmias, and there are pacemakers that have lead wires positioned in both the atrium and the ventricle. There may be one lead wire for each chamber, or one lead wire may be capable of sensing and pacing both chambers.

A new type of pacemaker, called a biventricular pacemaker, is currently used in the treatment of congestive heart failure. Sometimes in heart failure, the two ventricles (lower heart chambers) do not pump together in a normal manner. When this happens, less blood is pumped by the heart.

A biventricular pacemaker paces both ventricles at the same time, increasing the amount of blood pumped by the heart. This type of treatment is called cardiac resynchronization therapy.

Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) looks very similar to a pacemaker, except that it is slightly larger. It has a generator, one or more leads, and an electrode for each lead. These components work very much like a pacemaker. However, the ICD is designed to deliver an electrical shock to the heart when the heart rate becomes dangerously fast, or €œfibrillates.”

An ICD senses when the heart is beating too fast and delivers an electrical shock to convert the fast rhythm to a normal rhythm. Some devices combine a pacemaker and ICD in one unit for persons who need both functions.

The ICD has another type of treatment for certain fast rhythms called anti-tachycardia pacing (ATP). When ATP is used, a fast pacing impulse is sent to correct the rhythm. After the shock is delivered, a “back-up” pacing mode is used if needed for a short while.

The procedure for inserting a pacemaker or an ICD is the same. The procedure generally is performed in an electrophysiology (EP) lab or a cardiac catheterization lab.

Other related procedures that may be used to assess the heart include resting and exercise electrocardiogram (ECG), Holter monitor, signal-averaged ECG, cardiac catheterization, chest x-ray, computed tomography (CT scan) of the chest, echocardiography, electrophysiology studies, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the heart, myocardial perfusion scans, radionuclide angiography, and ultrafast CT scan.

The heart’s electrical conduction system

Illustration of the anatomy of the heart, view of the electrical system
Click Image to Enlarge

The heart is, in the simplest terms, a pump made up of muscle tissue. Like all pumps, the heart requires a source of energy in order to function. The heart’s pumping energy comes from an indwelling electrical conduction system.

An electrical stimulus is generated by the sinus node (also called the sinoatrial node, or SA node), which is a small mass of specialized tissue located in the right atrium (right upper chamber) of the heart.

The sinus node generates an electrical stimulus regularly at 60 to 100 times per minute under normal conditions. This electrical stimulus travels down through the conduction pathways (similar to the way electricity flows through power lines from the power plant to your house) and causes the heart’s chambers to contract and pump out blood.

The right and left atria (the two upper chambers of the heart) are stimulated first and contract a short period of time before the right and left ventricles (the two lower chambers of the heart).

The electrical impulse travels from the sinus node to the atrioventricular (AV) node, where it stops for a very short period, then continues down the conduction pathways via the “bundle of His” into the ventricles. The bundle of His divides into right and left pathways to provide electrical stimulation to both ventricles.

What is an ECG?

This electrical activity of the heart is measured by an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). By placing electrodes at specific locations on the body (chest, arms, and legs), a tracing of the electrical activity can be obtained. Changes in an ECG from the normal tracing can indicate one or more of several heart-related conditions.

Dysrhythmias/arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) are diagnosed by methods such as EKG, Holter monitoring, signal-average EKG, or electrophysiological studies. These symptoms may be treated with medication or procedures such as a cardiac ablation (removal of a location in the heart that is causing a dysrhythmia by freezing or radiofrequency).

Reasons for the Procedure

A pacemaker may be inserted in order to provide stimulation for a faster heart rate when the heart is beating too slowly, and when other treatment methods, such as medication, have not improved the heart rate.

An ICD may be inserted in order to provide fast pacing (ATP), cardioversion (small shock), or defibrillation (larger shock) when the heart beats too fast.

Problems with the heart rhythm may cause difficulties because the heart is unable to pump an adequate amount of blood to the body. If the heart rate is too slow, the blood is pumped too slowly.

If the heart rate is too fast or too irregular, the heart chambers are unable to fill up with enough blood to pump out with each beat. When the body does not receive enough blood, symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, fainting, and/or chest pain may occur.

Some examples of rhythm problems for which a pacemaker or ICD might be inserted include:

  • atrial fibrillation – occurs when the atria beat irregularly and too fast
  • ventricular fibrillation – occurs when the ventricles beat irregularly and too fast
  • bradycardia – occurs when the heart beats too slow
  • tachycardia – occurs when the heart beats too fast
  • heart block – occurs when the electrical signal is delayed after leaving the SA node; there are several types of heart blocks, and each one has a distinctive ECG tracing

There may be other reasons for your physician to recommend a pacemaker or ICD insertion.

Risks of the Procedure

Possible risks of pacemaker or ICD insertion include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • bleeding from the incision or catheter insertion site
  • damage to the vessel at the catheter insertion site
  • infection of the incision or catheter site
  • pneumothorax – air becomes trapped in the pleural space causing the lung to collapse

If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant, you should notify your physician. If you are lactating, or breastfeeding, you should notify your physician.

Patients who are allergic to or sensitive to medications or latex should notify their physician.

For some patients, having to lie still on the procedure table for the length of the procedure may cause some discomfort or pain.

There may be other risks depending upon your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your physician prior to the procedure.

Before the Procedure

  • Your physician will explain the procedure to you and offer you the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have about the procedure.
  • You will be asked to sign a consent form that gives your permission to do the test. Read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear.
  • You will need to fast for a certain period of time prior to the procedure. Your physician will notify you how long to fast, usually overnight.
  • If you are pregnant or suspect that you are pregnant, you should notify your physician.
  • Notify your physician if you are sensitive to or are allergic to any medications, iodine, latex, tape, or anesthetic agents (local and general).
  • Notify your physician of all medications (prescription and over-the-counter) and herbal supplements that you are taking.
  • Notify your physician if you have heart valve disease, as you may need to receive an antibiotic prior to the procedure.
  • Notify your physician if you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are taking any anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications, aspirin, or other medications that affect blood clotting. It may be necessary for you to stop some of these medications prior to the procedure.
  • Your physician may request a blood test prior to the procedure to determine how long it takes your blood to clot. Other blood tests may be done as well.
  • You may receive a sedative prior to the procedure to help you relax. If a sedative is given, you will need someone to drive you home afterwards.
  • The upper chest may be shaved or clipped prior to the procedure.
  • Based upon your medical condition, your physician may request other specific preparation.

During the Procedure

Picture of a chest X-ray, showing a single-chamber implanted pacemaker
Chest X-ray with Implanted Pacemaker

A pacemaker or implanted cardioverter defibrillator may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your physician’s practices.

Generally, a pacemaker or ICD insertion follows this process:

  1. You will be asked to remove any jewelry or other objects that may interfere with the procedure.
  2. You will be asked to remove your clothing and will be given a gown to wear.
  3. You will be asked to empty your bladder prior to the procedure.
  4. An intravenous (IV) line will be started in your hand or arm prior to the procedure for injection of medication and to administer IV fluids, if needed.
  5. You will be placed in a supine (on your back) position on the procedure table.
  6. You will be connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) monitor that records the electrical activity of the heart and monitors the heart during the procedure using small, adhesive electrodes. Your vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and oxygenation level) will be monitored during the procedure.
  7. Large electrode pads will be placed on the front and back of the chest.
  8. You will receive a sedative medication in your IV before the procedure to help you relax. However, you will likely remain awake during the procedure.
  9. The pacemaker or ICD insertion site will be cleansed with antiseptic soap.
  10. Sterile towels and a sheet will be placed around this area.
  11. A local anesthetic will be injected into the skin at the insertion site.
  12. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, the physician will make a small incision at the insertion site.
  13. A sheath, or introducer, is inserted into a blood vessel, usually under the collarbone. The sheath is a plastic tube through which the pacer/ICD lead wire will be inserted into the blood vessel and advanced into the heart.
  14. It will be very important for you to remain still during the procedure so that the catheter placement will not be disturbed and to prevent damage to the insertion site.
  15. The lead wire will be inserted through the introducer into the blood vessel. The physician will advance the lead wire through the blood vessel into the heart.
  16. Once the lead wire is inside the heart, it will be tested to verify proper location and that it works. There may be one, two, or three lead wires inserted, depending on the type of device your physician has chosen for your condition. Fluoroscopy, (a special type of x-ray that will be displayed on a TV monitor), may be used to assist in testing the location of the leads.
  17. Once the lead wire has been tested, an incision will be made close to the location of the catheter insertion (just under the collarbone). You will receive local anesthetic medication before the incision is made.
  18. The pacemaker/ICD generator will be slipped under the skin through the incision after the lead wire is attached to the generator. Generally, the generator will be placed on the non-dominant side. (If you are right-handed, the device will be placed in your upper left chest. If you are left-handed, the device will be placed in your upper right chest).
  19. The ECG will be observed to ensure that the pacer is working correctly.
  20. The skin incision will be closed with sutures, adhesive strips, or a special glue.
  21. A sterile bandage/dressing will be applied.

After the Procedure

In the hospital

After the procedure, you may be taken to the recovery room for observation or returned to your hospital room. A nurse will monitor your vital signs for a specified period of time.

You should immediately inform your nurse if you feel any chest pain or tightness, or any other pain at the incision site.

After the specified period of bed rest has been completed, you may get out of bed. The nurse will assist you the first time you get up, and will check your blood pressure while you are lying in bed, sitting, and standing. You should move slowly when getting up from the bed to avoid any dizziness from the period of bedrest.

You will be able to eat or drink once you are completely awake.

The insertion site may be sore or painful, but pain medication may be administered if needed.

Your physician will visit with you in your room while you are recovering. The physician will give you specific instructions and answer any questions you may have.

Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable and you are alert, you will be taken to your hospital room or discharged home.

If the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, you may be allowed to leave after you have completed the recovery process. However, if there are concerns or problems with your ECG, you may stay in the hospital for an additional day (or longer) for monitoring of the ECG.

You should arrange to have someone drive you home from the hospital following your procedure.

At home

You should be able to return to your daily routine within a few days. Your physician will tell you if you will need to take more time in returning to your normal activities. In addition, you should not do any lifting or pulling on anything for a few weeks. You may be instructed not to lift your arms above your head for a period of time.

You will most likely be able to resume your usual diet, unless your physician instructs you differently.

It will be important to keep the insertion site clean and dry. Your physician will give you specific bathing instructions.

Your physician will give you specific instructions about driving. If you had an ICD, you will not be able to drive until your physician gives you approval. Your physician will explain these limitations to you, if they are applicable to your situation.

You will be given specific instructions about what to do if your ICD discharges a shock. For example, you may be instructed to dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room in the event of a shock from the ICD.

Ask your physician when you will be able to return to work. The nature of your occupation, your overall health status, and your progress will determine how soon you may return to work.

Notify your physician to report any of the following:

  • fever and/or chills
  • increased pain, redness, swelling, or bleeding or other drainage from the insertion site
  • chest pain/pressure, nausea and/or vomiting, profuse sweating, dizziness and/or fainting
  • palpitations

Your physician may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.

Pacemaker/ICD precautions

The following precautions should always be considered. Discuss the following in detail with your physician, or call the company that made your device:

  • Always carry an ID card that states you are wearing a pacemaker or an ICD. In addition, you should wear a medical identification bracelet that states you have a pacemaker or ICD.
  • Use caution when going through airport security detectors. Check with your physician about the safety of going through such detectors with your type of pacemaker. In particular, you may need to avoid being screened by hand-held detector devices, as these devices may affect your pacemaker.
  • You may not have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedure. You should also avoid large magnetic fields.
  • Abstain from diathermy (the use of heat in physical therapy to treat muscles).
  • Turn off large motors, such as cars or boats, when working on them (they may temporarily €œconfuse” your device).
  • Avoid certain high-voltage or radar machinery, such as radio or television transmitters, electric arc welders, high-tension wires, radar installations, or smelting furnaces.
  • If you are having a surgical procedure performed by a surgeon or dentist, tell your surgeon or dentist that you have a pacemaker or ICD, so that electrocautery will not be used to control bleeding (the electrocautery device can change the pacemaker settings).
  • You may have to take antibiotic medication before any medically invasive procedure to prevent infections that may affect the pacemaker.
  • Always consult your physician if you have any questions concerning the use of certain equipment near your pacemaker.
  • When involved in a physical, recreational, or sporting activity, you should avoid receiving a blow to the skin over the pacemaker or ICD. A blow to the chest near the pacemaker or ICD can affect its functioning. If you do receive a blow to that area, see your physician.
  • Always consult your physician when you feel ill after an activity, or when you have questions about beginning a new activity.

SOURCE

http://stanfordhospital.org/healthLib/greystone/heartCenter/heartProcedures/pacemakerImplantableCardioverterDefibrillatorICDInsertion.html

In Summary: Who Needs a Pacemaker?

Doctors recommend pacemakers for many reasons. The most common reasons are bradycardia and heart block.

Bradycardia is a heartbeat that is slower than normal. Heart block is a disorder that occurs if an electrical signal is slowed or disrupted as it moves through the heart.

Heart block can happen as a result of aging, damage to the heart from a heart attack, or other conditions that disrupt the heart’s electrical activity. Some nerve and muscle disorders also can cause heart block, including muscular dystrophy.

Your doctor also may recommend a pacemaker if:

  • Aging or heart disease damages your sinus node’s ability to set the correct pace for your heartbeat. Such damage can cause slower than normal heartbeats or long pauses between heartbeats. The damage also can cause your heart to switch between slow and fast rhythms. This condition is called sick sinus syndrome.
  • You’ve had a medical procedure to treat an arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation. A pacemaker can help regulate your heartbeat after the procedure.
  • You need to take certain heart medicines, such as beta blockers. These medicines can slow your heartbeat too much.
  • You faint or have other symptoms of a slow heartbeat. For example, this may happen if the main artery in your neck that supplies your brain with blood is sensitive to pressure. Just quickly turning your neck can cause your heart to beat slower than normal. As a result, your brain might not get enough blood flow, causing you to feel faint or collapse.
  • You have heart muscle problems that cause electrical signals to travel too slowly through your heart muscle. Your pacemaker may provide cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) for this problem. CRT devices coordinate electrical signaling between the heart’s lower chambers.
  • You have long QT syndrome, which puts you at risk for dangerous arrhythmias.

Doctors also may recommend pacemakers for people who have certain types ofcongenital heart disease or for people who have had heart transplants. Children, teens, and adults can use pacemakers.

Before recommending a pacemaker, your doctor will consider any arrhythmia symptoms you have, such as dizziness, unexplained fainting, or shortness of breath. He or she also will consider whether you have a history of heart disease, what medicines you’re currently taking, and the results of heart tests.

Diagnostic Tests

Many tests are used to detect arrhythmias. You may have one or more of the following tests.

EKG (Electrocardiogram)

An EKG is a simple, painless test that detects and records the heart’s electrical activity. The test shows how fast your heart is beating and its rhythm (steady or irregular).

An EKG also records the strength and timing of electrical signals as they pass through your heart. The test can help diagnose bradycardia and heart block (the most common reasons for needing a pacemaker).

A standard EKG only records the heartbeat for a few seconds. It won’t detect arrhythmias that don’t happen during the test.

To diagnose heart rhythm problems that come and go, your doctor may have you wear a portable EKG monitor. The two most common types of portable EKGs are Holter and event monitors.

Holter and Event Monitors

A Holter monitor records the heart’s electrical activity for a full 24- or 48-hour period. You wear one while you do your normal daily activities. This allows the monitor to record your heart for a longer time than a standard EKG.

An event monitor is similar to a Holter monitor. You wear an event monitor while doing your normal activities. However, an event monitor only records your heart’s electrical activity at certain times while you’re wearing it.

For many event monitors, you push a button to start the monitor when you feel symptoms. Other event monitors start automatically when they sense abnormal heart rhythms.

You can wear an event monitor for weeks or until symptoms occur.

Echocardiography

Echocardiography (echo) uses sound waves to create a moving picture of your heart. The test shows the size and shape of your heart and how well your heart chambers and valves are working.

Echo also can show areas of poor blood flow to the heart, areas of heart muscle that aren’t contracting normally, and injury to the heart muscle caused by poor blood flow.

Electrophysiology Study

For this test, a thin, flexible wire is passed through a vein in your groin (upper thigh) or arm to your heart. The wire records the heart’s electrical signals.

Your doctor uses the wire to electrically stimulate your heart. This allows him or her to see how your heart’s electrical system responds. This test helps pinpoint where the heart’s electrical system is damaged.

Stress Test

Some heart problems are easier to diagnose when your heart is working hard and beating fast.

During stress testing, you exercise to make your heart work hard and beat fast while heart tests, such as an EKG or echo, are done. If you can’t exercise, you may be given medicine to raise your heart rate.

SOURCE

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pace/whoneeds.html

What Are the Risks of Pacemaker Surgery?

Pacemaker surgery generally is safe. If problems do occur, they may include:

  • Swelling, bleeding, bruising, or infection in the area where the pacemaker was placed
  • Blood vessel or nerve damage
  • A collapsed lung
  • A bad reaction to the medicine used during the procedure

Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of pacemaker surgery.

How Does a Pacemaker Work?

A pacemaker consists of a battery, a computerized generator, and wires with sensors at their tips. (The sensors are called electrodes.) The battery powers the generator, and both are surrounded by a thin metal box. The wires connect the generator to the heart.

A pacemaker helps monitor and control your heartbeat. The electrodes detect your heart’s electrical activity and send data through the wires to the computer in the generator.

If your heart rhythm is abnormal, the computer will direct the generator to send electrical pulses to your heart. The pulses travel through the wires to reach your heart.

Newer pacemakers can monitor your blood temperature, breathing, and other factors. They also can adjust your heart rate to changes in your activity.

The pacemaker’s computer also records your heart’s electrical activity and heart rhythm. Your doctor will use these recordings to adjust your pacemaker so it works better for you.

Your doctor can program the pacemaker’s computer with an external device. He or she doesn’t have to use needles or have direct contact with the pacemaker.

Pacemakers have one to three wires that are each placed in different chambers of the heart.

  • The wires in a single-chamber pacemaker usually carry pulses from the generator to the right ventricle (the lower right chamber of your heart).
  • The wires in a dual-chamber pacemaker carry pulses from the generator to the right atrium (the upper right chamber of your heart) and the right ventricle. The pulses help coordinate the timing of these two chambers’ contractions.
  • The wires in a biventricular pacemaker carry pulses from the generator to an atrium and both ventricles. The pulses help coordinate electrical signaling between the two ventricles. This type of pacemaker also is called a cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) device.

Cross-Section of a Chest With a Pacemaker

The image shows a cross-section of a chest with a pacemaker. Figure A shows the location and general size of a double-lead, or dual-chamber, pacemaker in the upper chest. The wires with electrodes are inserted into the heart's right atrium and ventricle through a vein in the upper chest. Figure B shows an electrode electrically stimulating the heart muscle. Figure C shows the location and general size of a single-lead, or single-chamber, pacemaker in the upper chest.

The image shows a cross-section of a chest with a pacemaker. Figure A shows the location and general size of a double-lead, or dual-chamber, pacemaker in the upper chest. The wires with electrodes are inserted into the heart’s right atrium and ventricle through a vein in the upper chest. Figure B shows an electrode electrically stimulating the heart muscle. Figure C shows the location and general size of a single-lead, or single-chamber, pacemaker in the upper chest.

Types of Pacemaker Programming

The two main types of programming for pacemakers are

  • demand pacing and
  • rate-responsive pacing.

A demand pacemaker monitors your heart rhythm. It only sends electrical pulses to your heart if your heart is beating too slow or if it misses a beat.

A rate-responsive pacemaker will speed up or slow down your heart rate depending on how active you are. To do this, the device monitors your

  • sinus node rate,
  • breathing,
  • blood temperature, and
  • other factors to determine your activity level.

Your doctor will work with you to decide which type of pacemaker is best for you.

SOURCE

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pace/howdoes.html

What To Expect During Pacemaker Surgery

Placing a pacemaker requires minor surgery. The surgery usually is done in a hospital or special heart treatment laboratory.

Before the surgery, an intravenous (IV) line will be inserted into one of your veins. You will receive medicine through the IV line to help you relax. The medicine also might make you sleepy.

Your doctor will numb the area where he or she will put the pacemaker so you don’t feel any pain. Your doctor also may give you antibiotics to prevent infection.

First, your doctor will insert a needle into a large vein, usually near the shoulder opposite your dominant hand. Your doctor will then use the needle to thread the pacemaker wires into the vein and to correctly place them in your heart.

An x-ray “movie” of the wires as they pass through your vein and into your heart will help your doctor place them. Once the wires are in place, your doctor will make a small cut into the skin of your chest or abdomen.

He or she will slip the pacemaker’s small metal box through the cut, place it just under your skin, and connect it to the wires that lead to your heart. The box contains the pacemaker’s battery and generator.

Once the pacemaker is in place, your doctor will test it to make sure it works properly. He or she will then sew up the cut. The entire surgery takes a few hours.

SOURCE

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pace/during.html

What To Expect After Pacemaker Surgery

Expect to stay in the hospital overnight so your health care team can check your heartbeat and make sure your pacemaker is working well. You’ll likely have to arrange for a ride to and from the hospital because your doctor may not want you to drive yourself.

For a few days to weeks after surgery, you may have pain, swelling, or tenderness in the area where your pacemaker was placed. The pain usually is mild; over-the-counter medicines often can relieve it. Talk to your doctor before taking any pain medicines.

Your doctor may ask you to avoid vigorous activities and heavy lifting for about a month after pacemaker surgery. Most people return to their normal activities within a few days of having the surgery.

SOURCE

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pace/after.html

How Will a Pacemaker Affect My Lifestyle?

Once you have a pacemaker, you have to avoid close or prolonged contact with electrical devices or devices that have strong magnetic fields. Devices that can interfere with a pacemaker include:

  • Cell phones and MP3 players (for example, iPods)
  • Household appliances, such as microwave ovens
  • High-tension wires
  • Metal detectors
  • Industrial welders
  • Electrical generators

These devices can disrupt the electrical signaling of your pacemaker and stop it from working properly. You may not be able to tell whether your pacemaker has been affected.

How likely a device is to disrupt your pacemaker depends on how long you’re exposed to it and how close it is to your pacemaker.

To be safe, some experts recommend not putting your cell phone or MP3 player in a shirt pocket over your pacemaker (if the devices are turned on).

You may want to hold your cell phone up to the ear that’s opposite the site where your pacemaker is implanted. If you strap your MP3 player to your arm while listening to it, put it on the arm that’s farther from your pacemaker.

You can still use household appliances, but avoid close and prolonged exposure, as it may interfere with your pacemaker.

You can walk through security system metal detectors at your normal pace. Security staff can check you with a metal detector wand as long as it isn’t held for too long over your pacemaker site. You should avoid sitting or standing close to a security system metal detector. Notify security staff if you have a pacemaker.

Also, stay at least 2 feet away from industrial welders and electrical generators.

Some medical procedures can disrupt your pacemaker. These procedures include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI
  • Shock-wave lithotripsy to get rid of kidney stones
  • Electrocauterization to stop bleeding during surgery

Let all of your doctors, dentists, and medical technicians know that you have a pacemaker. Your doctor can give you a card that states what kind of pacemaker you have. Carry this card in your wallet. You may want to wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace that states that you have a pacemaker.

Physical Activity

In most cases, having a pacemaker won’t limit you from doing sports and exercise, including strenuous activities.

You may need to avoid full-contact sports, such as football. Such contact could damage your pacemaker or shake loose the wires in your heart. Ask your doctor how much and what kinds of physical activity are safe for you.

Ongoing Care

Your doctor will want to check your pacemaker regularly (about every 3 months). Over time, a pacemaker can stop working properly because:

  • Its wires get dislodged or broken
  • Its battery gets weak or fails
  • Your heart disease progresses
  • Other devices have disrupted its electrical signaling

To check your pacemaker, your doctor may ask you to come in for an office visit several times a year. Some pacemaker functions can be checked remotely using a phone or the Internet.

Your doctor also may ask you to have an EKG (electrocardiogram) to check for changes in your heart’s electrical activity.

Battery Replacement

Pacemaker batteries last between 5 and 15 years (average 6 to 7 years), depending on how active the pacemaker is. Your doctor will replace the generator along with the battery before the battery starts to run down.

Replacing the generator and battery is less-involved surgery than the original surgery to implant the pacemaker. Your pacemaker wires also may need to be replaced eventually.

Your doctor can tell you whether your pacemaker or its wires need to be replaced when you see him or her for followup visits.

SOURCE

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pace/lifestyle.html

Clinical Trial on Pace Makers

clinical trials related to pacemakers, talk with your doctor. You also can visit the following Web sites to learn more about clinical research and to search for clinical trials:

For more information about clinical trials for children, visit the NHLBI’s Children and Clinical Studies Web page.

SOURCE

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pace/trials.html

RESOUCES on PaceMakers

Links to Other Information About Pacemakers

NHLBI Resources

Non-NHLBI Resources

Clinical Trials

SOURCE

 

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Ventricular Assist Device (VAD): A Recommended Approach to the Treatment of Intractable Cardiogenic Shock

Writer: Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP

 and

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

A ventricular assist device (VAD) is an implantable mechanical pump that helps pump blood from the lower chambers of your heart (the ventricles) to the rest of your body. VADs are used in people who have weakened hearts or heart failure. Although VADs can be placed in the left, right or both ventricles of your heart, they are most frequently used in the left ventricle. When placed in the left ventricle they are called left ventricular assist devices (LVADs).

You may have a VAD implanted while you wait for a heart transplant or for your heart to become strong enough to effectively pump blood on its own. Your doctor may also recommend having a VAD implanted as a long-term treatment if you have heart failure and you’re not a good candidate for a heart transplant.

The procedure to implant a VAD requires open-heart surgery and has serious risks. However, a VAD can be lifesaving if you have severe heart failure.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lvad/MY01077

This is an assessment of the development and progression of cardiogenic shock  and review of the use of ventricular assist devices in that setting.  It is another piece of the chapter on cardiothoracic surgical management at Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY.

A stepwise progression in the treatment of cardiogenic shock.

Pollack AUriel NGeorge IKodali STakayama HNaka YJorde U.

Source

Department of Medicine, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.

Abstract

Cardiogenic shock remains a deadly complication of acute myocardial infarction (MI). Early revascularization, inotropic support, and intraaortic balloon counterpulsation are the mainstays of treatment, but these are not always sufficient. New mechanical approaches, both percutaneous and surgical, are available in this high-risk population. We present a case of a young woman with a massive anterior wall MI and subsequent cardiogenic shock who was treated with advanced mechanical circulatory support. This case serves as an illustration of the stepwise escalation of mechanical support that can be applied in a patient with an acute MI complicated by refractory cardiogenic shock. We also review the literature with regard to the use of percutaneous left ventricular assist devices in the setting of cardiogenic shock.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID: 22608034

Care of the Critically Ill:  A Stepwise Progression in the Treatment of Cardiogenic Shock.

Pollack A, Uriel N, George I, Kodali S, Takayama H, Naka Y, Jorde U
J Heart & Lung 2012; 41:500-504.

Initial Presentation

 A 21-year-old woman with a history of migraine headaches was admitted to the hospital with nonradiating substernal chest pain onset that morning. When she presented to another hospital she had a normal electrocardiogram (EKG) and was discharged. When the patient’s chest discomfort became crushing  she presented again to the same hospital where her EKG revealed ST-segment elevations in an anterolateral distribution. Her peak (hs) troponin was 229 ng/mL and peak creatinine kinase was 6900 U/L.  This was an elevation of CK far out of proportion to the troponin increase (suggestive of decreased peripheral circulation with massive release of CK from muscle). There was no family history of early myocardial infarction (MI), sudden cardiac death, clotting disorders, or hypercholesterolemia. She had been taking amitriptyline for migraines and oral contraceptives for 3 years.  The patient developed significant hypotension, after she was given metoprolol and morphine, for which dobutamine and dopamine were administered. Medication was switched to norepinephrine because of excessive tachycardia. Cardiac catheterization was performed emergently approximately 12 hours after the onset of the patient’s chest pain.
Thrombectomy of an angiographically identified clot in the proximal portion of the left anterior descending artery was performed, followed by placement of a bare metal stent with no residual occlusion. An intraaortic balloon bump (IABP) was placed. The initial transthoracic echocardiogram revealed an ejection fraction of 25% and global hypokinesis with regional wall motion abnormalities, worst in the anterior, apical, and lateral walls. She was intubated and required significant hemodynamic support with norepinephrine. Her antiplatelet regimen consisted of oral aspirin, clopidogrel, and intravenous eptifibatide. The patient was transferred to the New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center approximately 12 hours after revascularization.

Transfer to  NY Presbyteran Columbia Hospital

On arrival, the patient was intubated and sedated. Her blood pressure was 80/51mmHg, pulse rate was 140 beats/min, and oral temperature was 101F. On examination, she was tachycardic with warm extremities. The jugular veins were not distended. Her lactate was 7.0 mmol/L. (If she was so severely hypotensive with lactic acidemia, possibly from impaired liver and/or muscle circulation with aerobic glycolysis, then why was the temperature 101 deg F?)  The patient was not tested for procalcitonin (Brahms, BioMerieux), but sepsis is now considered bacterial or abacterial.  Whether there was release of bacterial endotoxin secondary to poor decreased circulation in the superior mesenteric artery is not known, which complicates the situation more.  In a study of acute phase changes in liver proteins by Bernstein and associates [Transthyretin as a marker to predict outcome in critically ill patients. Devakonda A, George L, Raoof S, Esan A, Saleh A, Bernstein LH.   Clin Biochem 2008; 41(14-15):1126-1130. ICID: 939927], and another on  procalcitonin and sepsis [The role of procalcitonin in the diagnosis of sepsis and patient assignment to medical intensive care. Bernstein LH, Devakonda A, Engelman E, Pancer G,  Ferrar J, Rucinski J, Raoof S,  George L, Melniker L.  J Clin Ligand Assay] there was a notable case of negative bacterial culture in a patient with highly elevated procalcitonin, considered a reliable early indicator of sepsis.sepsis classification with PCT and MAP
Procalcitonin (PCT) is a sensitive and specific inflammation marker, which can be used to detect both inflammatory infections and noninflammatory complications in postsurgical monitoring of patients after cardiac surgery using extracorporeal circulation. The optimum cut-off value for PCT levels, as a predictor of postoperative complications, appears to be 1.2 ng/mL with a sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 90%. PCT may be used to monitor response to therapy because blood concentrations increase in an inflammatory disease relapse. Importance of procalcitonin in post-cardiosurgical patients. Topolcan O, Bartunek L, Holubec Jr L,  Polivkova V, eta al. Journal of Clinical Ligand Assay 2008; 31(1-4): 57-60.]This might be expected to be associated with a CRP increase over 50-70 mg/ml.  In addition, the hemogram would have been of some interest, perhaps raising the question of whether the cardiovascular impairment triggered other events [Validation and Calibration of the Relationship between Granulocyte Maturation and the Septic State. Bernstein LH and Rucinski J.  Clin Chem Lab Med 2011; 49. Walter de Gruyter . http://dx.doi.org/10.1515cclm.2011.688Converting Hematology Based Data into an Inferential Interpretation. Bernstein LH, David G, Rucinski J and Coifman RR.  In Hematology – Science and Practice, 2012. Chapter 22, pp 541-552. InTech Open Access Publ. Croatia]. 
A chest radiograph showed pulmonary edema. Her EKG revealed sinus tachycardia at 121 beats/min with ST-segment elevation of 3 mm in leads V1 to V4 and poor R-wave progression throughout the precordial leads with pathologic Q waves in V1 to V6, I, and aVL. Eptifibatide (Integrilin, Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ) was stopped, and norepinephrine was continued at 20 mg/min. Dobutamine 2.5 mg/min and broad-spectrum antibiotics were administered. During the next 4 hours, the patient’s mean arterial pressure fluctuated between 60 and 70 mm Hg with a heart rate between 120 and 140 beats/min on 20 mg/min of norepinephrine, 2.5 mg/min of dobutamine, and the IABP. Rapid escalation of mechanical support with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) was deemed necessary.  Right-sided heart catheterization after placement of an Impella 2.5 assist device (ABIOMED, Inc.) revealed a cardiac output of 3.3 L/min and a cardiac index (CI) of 2.1 L/min/m2, despite addition of 3 ug/min and 4 U/h of vassopressin.

Day 2

On the second day after transfer she was severely hyponatremic, but her plasma sodium stabilized at 131 to 138 mmol/L after discontinuing the vasopressin. She also developed significant bleeding at the site of the Impella and hemolysis requiring several blood transfusions. Her hemoglobin on transfer was 10.4 g/dL, which trended down to 7.8 g/dL after Impella placement. The patient’s lactate dehydrogenase was 1980 U/L (probably reflecting poor liver perfusion), and total bilirubin was 2.6 mg/dL on day 2 of her hospitalization compared with 1.1 mg/dL on transfer.

Day 3

After the Impella device was removed on day 3 because of persistent bleeding, the patient’s hemoglobin, bilirubin, and platelet count stabilized, but while the patient was able to maintain end-organ perfusion initially as manifested by a normal creatinine, as the day progressed, the patient’s systemic blood pressure trended downward and urine output decreased, and she could not tolerate discontinuation of the vasoactive agents being administered. Pulmonary hypertension developed with a rate-dependent cardiac output as manifested by persistent tachycardia, and had an ejection fraction of 20% with severe hypokinesis of all segments except the basal inferior and inferolateral walls. As a consequence of the enduring cardiogenic shock and the low likelihood for recovery of left ventricular function, it was evident the patient required long-term mechanical support. A continuous flow LVAD (HeartMate II; Thoratec Corporation) was implanted as a rescue therapy, and the patient was emergently listed for transplantation.

Recovery

A comprehensive heart failure regimen was introduced, and the patient was discharged with warfarin 25 days after her transfer. A comprehensive hypercoagulability workup performed while the patient was receiving anticoagulation with negative results. Aside from oral contraceptive use, no other obvious risk factor for an acute arterial thrombosis could be identified, which is not surprising given that up to 40% of all thrombotic events occur in patients without a recognizable risk factor. Early revascularization, inotropic support, and intraaortic balloon counterpulsation are the mainstays of treatment, but these are not always sufficient.  New mechanical approaches, both percutaneous and surgical, are available in this high-risk population. This case serves as an illustration of the stepwise escalation of mechanical support that can be applied in a patient with an acute MI complicated by refractory cardiogenic shock. We also review the literature with regard to the use of percutaneous left ventricular assist devices in the setting of cardiogenic shock.

Recommendation

The authors recommend the following protocol for patients with cardiogenic shock superimposed on acute MI.    Treatment of cardiogenic shock.  PCI, percutaneous coronary intervention; IABP, intraaortic balloon pump; VAD, ventricular assist device; VA-ECMO, venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; OHT, orthotopic heart transplantation; pVAD, percutaneous ventricular assist device. It is important to note that it includes immediate revascularization in conjunction with IABP placement. In patients with refractory cardiogenic shock who are unable to be weaned from the IABP, mechanical circulatory support using a percutaneous or surgical device is the next essential measure to be taken. The type of mechanical support to be used depends on many factors, including the reversibility of the shock state, chances of ventricular recovery, and risk of bleeding. Mechanical circulatory support with left ventricular assists devices can improve cardiac performance and reduce myocardial ischemic injury. Principle mechanisms include unloading of the left ventricle, thereby decreasing myocardial oxygen demand and improvement of systemic hypotension, thus increasing coronary perfusion.
Although there were complications related to the use of the device, its deployment resulted in the improvement of the patient’s surgical candidacy by virtue of maintaining her end-organ function.  After the removal of the Impella device, we thought the left ventricle in this patient would not recover, and for this reason, we chose a definitive surgical procedure as opposed to alternative temporary support device.  Clinical studies focusing on the use of VA-ECMO in refractory cardiogenic shock after an acute MI are limited. Observational and retrospective series have thus far demonstrated a high mortality rate in these patients.  However, a recent retrospective study of 33 patients who received ECMO support for advanced refractory cardiogenic shock after an acute MI demonstrated a mortality rate of 46% and 52% at 30 days and 1 year, respectively. In addition to mny complications with VA-ECMO, the procedure also can lead to increased afterload from the retrograde flow of peripheral cannulation., which may to lead to increased left ventricular pressure and wall stress, thereby compromising myocardial recovery and worsening pulmonary edema, both of which were major concerns
in this patient.

Conclusions

This case demonstrates that a sequential approach using percutaneous mechanical support as a bridge to surgical mechanical support is feasible in this high-risk population (Figure ). Advantages of percutaneous mechanical support include its rapid and straightforward placement. Disadvantages include its limited cardiac output and bleeding. Future technology should focus on a device that is capable of providing significant cardiac output and that can be easily placed, like the Impella. Such a device could alter the natural history of intractable cardiogenic shock.

Other related articles published on this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

Implantable Synchronized Cardiac Assist Device Designed for Heart Remodeling: Abiomed’s Symphony

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN, 7/11/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/07/11/implantable-synchronized-cardiac-assist-device-designed-for-heart-remodeling-abiomeds-symphony/

Biomaterials Technology: Models of Tissue Engineering for Reperfusion and Implantable Devices for Revascularization

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/5_04_2013/bernstein_lev-ari/Bioengineering_of_Vascular_and_Tissue_Models

Foreseen changes in Guideline of Treatment of Cardiogenic Shock with Intra-aortic Balloon counterPulsation (IABP)

Evidence for Overturning the Guidelines in Cardiogenic Shock

Clinical Indications for Use of Inhaled Nitric Oxide (iNO) in the Adult Patient Market: Clinical Outcomes after Use, Therapy Demand and Cost of Care

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN, 6/3/2013

English: Ventricular assist device

English: Ventricular assist device (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Simulation of a wave pump human ventr...

English: Simulation of a wave pump human ventricular assist device (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

myocardial infarction - Myokardinfarkt - scheme

myocardial infarction – Myokardinfarkt – scheme (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Graphic presentation of an LVAD, left...

English: Graphic presentation of an LVAD, left ventricular assist device. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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On Devices and On Algorithms: Arrhythmia after Cardiac Surgery Prediction and ECG Prediction of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation Onset

Author, and Content Consultant to e-SERIES A: Cardiovascular Diseases: Justin Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC

and

Article Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Cleveland Clinic research spurs a device that could predict arrhythmia after cardiac surgery

April 30, 2013 9:03 am by  |

ECG

Heart doctors at the Cleveland Clinic  hope to give doctors a way to tell which patients might develop arrhythmia after cardiac surgery.

Atrial fibrillation (AFIB) is one of the most common complications of heart surgeries, and also occurs as a complication of elevated alcohol use, high blood pressure, valve disease or thyroid disease. Atrial fibrillation consists of the round parts of the Valentine heart (the atria) shivering chaotically instead of beating rhythmically. Atrial fibrillation is a common arrhythmia, eventually affecting 20% of adults. There are 3 varieties: paroxysmal (intermittent), persistent (continual) and permanent (unremitting).  When AFIB lasts longer than 24-48 hours the risk of forming a blood clot in the atria rises, which in turn can cause a stroke or a heart attack. AFIB often results in fast heart rates which may cause low blood pressure and its possible consequences (organ injury, heart attack). Also, prolonged fast rates weaken the heart (reversible rate-related cardiomyopathy), which can persist for months after regaining target ranges for the heart rates (target for rate control is 60-80/minute instead of the fast rates of 100-180/min that are common with untreated AFIB).

A scoring system (CHADS2) can predict who may suffer from a stroke due to AFIB that lasts >24-48 hours, and in particular, who may benefit from longterm anticoagulation (blood thinners to interfere with clot formation). A pill-in-the-pocket can stop AFIB within hours.  Amiodarone, a highly toxic medication (10% long-term uses face side effects of serious damage to liver, lung, thyroid or eyes), is often prescribed “off-label” (without FDA endorsement) because it is 70% effective in preventing AFIB recurrence, and it has less anticontractility (weakening of the strength of heart beats) than most other rhythm medications. Then next most effective medication for suppression of AFIB long-term is sotalol, which reduces the strength of heart contraction (may not be tolerated by patients with severe heart failure) and it prolongs QT interval of repolarization after each heartbeat, a risk factor for a deadly rhythm called torsades de pointes. Interventional cures (“AFIB ablation”) have been developed to prevent recurrences.

Predicting AFIB may have several benefits: (1) potentially, earlier use of pill-in-the-pocket could prevent episodes rather that wait for them to occur, get noticed, and then treated, as only ~50% of AFIB episodes are noticed by the patient, according to electrographic monitor reports; (2) surrogate endpoint (prediction of onset) may offer useful guidance as to sufficiency of a suppressive therapy to enable lower dosing of toxic treatments; (3)  surrogate endpoint (prediction of onset) may offer useful guidance as to sufficient lowering of alohol intake, sufficient control of blood pressure, sufficient control of thyroid abnormalities, and other prevention opportunities; (4) surrogate endpoints may facilitate AFIB ablation.

Work done in the lab of Dr. C. Allen Bashour indicated that most patients who experience atrial fibrillation after heart surgery show clues beforehand in the form of subtle changes in their ECG readings that aren’t detected with the way they’re monitored now.

Rindex Medical is commercializing a tool that would enable physicians to predict which patients will experience AF so they can receive prophylactic treatment before it occurs.

“Right now they basically guess, or treat everyone prophylactically,” said co-founder Alex Arrow. “Some clinicians say they have an intuition about who will get it, but it’s mostly guesswork.”

Rindex’s A-50 AF Prediction System uses algorithms developed at the Clinic to analyze a patient’s ECG signals through 17 steps and produce a score, from 1 to 100, of how likely that patient is to experience AF. Arrow said the final product will be a touch-screen monitor that displays a score and tracks the score over a nine-hour period.

The Redwood City, California, company has been issued the first of its patents for the device and the exclusive license from Cleveland Clinic to develop the technology. Self-funded by Arrow and co-founders Denis Hickey and Lucas Fairfield, Rindex has a working prototype and is making progress on preparations for its 510(k) application. Arrow said the company shouldn’t need to raise a series A until it’s ready for a clinical trial.

Many other research groups have explored ways to predict AF in its various forms from natriuretic peptides to ECG changes, but no method has been established as reliably for this purpose.

Read more: http://medcitynews.com/2013/04/cleveland-clinic-research-spurs-a-device-that-could-predict-arrhythmias-after-cardiac-surgery/#ixzz2ScbxIyW0

http://medcitynews.com/2013/04/cleveland-clinic-research-spurs-a-device-that-could-predict-arrhythmias-after-cardiac-surgery/?goback=%2Egde_1503357_member_237204073

Dec 13, 2012

ECG predicts atrial fibrillation onset

Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common cardiac arrhythmia, is categorized by different forms. One sub-type is paroxysmal AF (PAF), which refers to episodes of arrhythmia that generally terminate spontaneously after no more than a few days. Although the underlying causes of PAF are still unknown, it’s clear that predicting the onset of PAF would be hugely beneficial, not least because it would enable the application of treatments to prevent the loss of sinus rhythm.

Many research groups are tackling the issue of predicting the onset of PAF. Now, however, researchers in Spain have developed a method that assesses the risk of PAF at least one hour before its onset. To date, the approach has not only successfully discriminated healthy individuals and PAF patients, but also distinguished patients far from and close to PAF onset (Physiol. Meas. 33 1959).

“The ability to assess the risk of arrhythmia at least one hour before its onset is clinically relevant,” Arturo Martinez from the University of Castilla-La Mancha told medicalphysicsweb. “Our method assesses the P-wave feature time course from single-lead long-term ECG recordings. Using a single ECG lead reduces the computational burden, paving the way for a real-time system in future.”

Analysing sinus rhythm

If the heart is beating normally, the sinus rhythm observed on an ECG will contain certain generic features, such as a P-wave that reflects the atrial depolarization and a large characteristic R peak flanked by two minima representing the depolarization of the heart’s right and left ventricles. If an irregular heart beat is suspected, an ECG will be used and typical findings include the absence of a P-wave.

“We hypothesized that different stages of AF could be identified when analysing long-term recordings extracted from patients prone to AF,” commented Martinez. “Our method differs to others in that we also use just one single lead to detect small differences in features from the P-wave time course.”

P for paroxysmal

Martinez and his collaborators, Raul Alcaraz and Jose Rieta, studied 24-hour Holter ECG recordings from 24 patients in whom PAF had been detected for the first time. For each patient, the longest sinus rhythm interval in the recording was selected, and the two hours preceding the onset of PAF were analysed. These readings were compared with those from 28 healthy individuals. In all cases, only the trace from the V1 ECG lead was considered.

A major challenge for the researchers was to extract the P-wave from the baseline noise. To overcome this, they used an automatic delineator algorithm based on a phasor transform that determines the precise time point relating to the onset, peak and offset of the P-wave. The authors described this algorithm in a previous research paper (Physiol. Meas. 31 1467).

“All of the recordings in our study were visually supervised by expert cardiologists who corrected the P-wave fiducial points when needed,” said Martinez. “Even in the presence of noise, which generated an incredible amount of P-wave distortion, our delineator provided location errors lower than 8 ms.”

In order to assess which time course features might be useful to predict the onset of PAF, the researchers analysed a number of variables. First, they examined factors representing the duration of the P-wave (Pdur), such as the distance between the P-wave onset and peak (Pini) and the distance between the P-wave peak and its offset (Pter). They then studied factors relating P- to R-waves, such as the distance between the two waves’ peaks (PRk) and, finally, beat-to-beat P-wave factors, such as the distance between two consecutive P-wave onset points (PPon).

“The most remarkable trends were provided by the features measuring P-wave duration,” report the authors in their paper. “Pduridentified appropriately 84.21% of all the analysed patients, obtaining a discriminant accuracy of 90.79% and 83.33% between healthy subjects and PAF patients far from PAF and close to PAF, respectively. The metrics related to the PR interval showed the most limited ability to identify patient groups.”

About the author

Jacqueline Hewett is a freelance science and technology journalist based in Bristol, UK.

http://medicalphysicsweb.org/cws/article/research/51820

Original Article

Physiol Meas. 2010 Nov;31(11):1467-85. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/31/11/005. Epub 2010 Sep 24.

Application of the phasor transform for automatic delineation of single-lead ECG fiducial points.

Martínez AAlcaraz RRieta JJ.

Source

Innovation in Bioengineering Research Group, University of Castilla La Mancha, Spain. arturo.martinez@uclm.es

Abstract

This work introduces a new single-lead ECG delineator based on phasor transform. The method is characterized by its robustness, low computational cost and mathematical simplicity. It converts each instantaneous ECG sample into a phasor, and can precisely manage P and T waves, which are of notably lower amplitude than the QRS complex. The method has been validated making use of synthesized and real ECG sets, including the MIT-BIH arrhythmia, QT, European ST-T and TWA Challenge 2008 databases. Experiments with the synthesized recordings reported precise detection and delineation performances in a wide variety of ECGs, with signal-to-noise ratios of 10 dB and above. For real ECGs, the QRS detection was characterized by an average sensitivity of 99.81% and positive predictivity of 99.89%, for all the analyzed databases (more than one million beats). Regarding delineation, the maximum localization error between automatic and manual annotations was lower than 6 ms and its standard deviation was in agreement with the accepted tolerances for expert physicians in the onset and offset identification for QRS, P and T waves. Furthermore, after revising and reannotating some ECG recordings by expert cardiologists, the delineation error decreased notably, becoming lower than 3.5 ms, on average, and reducing by a half its standard deviation. This new proposed strategy outperforms the results provided by other well-known delineation algorithms and, moreover, presents a notably lower computational cost.

SOURCES:

Original Database

MIT-BIH Polysomnographic Database

This database is described in

Ichimaru Y, Moody GB. Development of the polysomnographic database on CD-ROM. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 53:175-177 (April 1999).

Please cite this publication when referencing this material, and also include the standard citation for PhysioNet:

Goldberger AL, Amaral LAN, Glass L, Hausdorff JM, Ivanov PCh, Mark RG, Mietus JE, Moody GB, Peng C-K, Stanley HE. PhysioBank, PhysioToolkit, and PhysioNet: Components of a New Research Resource for Complex Physiologic Signals. Circulation 101(23):e215-e220 [Circulation Electronic Pages; http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/101/23/e215]; 2000 (June 13).

The MIT-BIH Polysomnographic Database is a collection of recordings of multiple physiologic signals during sleep. Subjects were monitored in Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital Sleep Laboratory for evaluation of chronic obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, and to test the effects of constant positive airway pressure (CPAP), a standard therapeutic intervention that usually prevents or substantially reduces airway obstruction in these subjects. The database contains over 80 hours’ worth of four-, six-, and seven-channel polysomnographic recordings, each with an ECG signal annotated beat-by-beat, and EEG and respiration signals annotated with respect to sleep stages and apnea. For further information, see Signals and Annotations.

The database consists of 18 records, each of which includes 4 files:

Sleep/apneaannotations Beatannotations Signals Header View waveforms *
slp01a.st slp01a.ecg slp01a.dat slp01a.hea
slp01b.st slp01b.ecg slp01b.dat slp01b.hea
slp02a.st slp02a.ecg slp02a.dat slp02a.hea
slp02b.st slp02b.ecg slp02b.dat slp02b.hea
slp03.st slp03.ecg slp03.dat slp03.hea
slp04.st slp04.ecg slp04.dat slp04.hea
slp14.st slp14.ecg slp14.dat slp14.hea
slp16.st slp16.ecg slp16.dat slp16.hea
slp32.st slp32.ecg slp32.dat slp32.hea
slp37.st slp37.ecg slp37.dat slp37.hea
slp41.st slp41.ecg slp41.dat slp41.hea
slp45.st slp45.ecg slp45.dat slp45.hea
slp48.st slp48.ecg slp48.dat slp48.hea
slp59.st slp59.ecg slp59.dat slp59.hea
slp60.st slp60.ecg slp60.dat slp60.hea
slp61.st slp61.ecg slp61.dat slp61.hea
slp66.st slp66.ecg slp66.dat slp66.hea
slp67x.st slp67x.ecg slp67x.dat slp67x.hea

(*) You may follow these links to view the signals and st annotations using either WAVE (under Linux, SunOS, or Solaris) or WVIEW (under MS-Windows). To do so successfully, you must have configured your browser to use wavescript (for WAVE) or wvscript (for WVIEW) as a helper application, as described in the WAVE User’s Guide(see the section titled WAVE and the Web) and in Setting up WVSCRIPT.

Andrew Walsh observed that the calibration originally provided for the BP signal of record slp37 is incorrect (since it yielded negative BPs). slp37.hea now contains an estimated BP calibration that yields more plausible BPs; these should not be regarded as accurate, however, since there is no independent calibration standard available for this recording.

SOURCE:
Original Article
Proc Inst Mech Eng H. 2010;224(1):27-42.

Finding events of electrocardiogram and arterial blood pressure signals via discrete wavelet transform with modified scales.

Ghaffari AHomaeinezhad MRAkraminia MDavaeeha M.

Source

Cardiovascular Research Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, K. N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

A robust electrocardiogram (ECG) wave detection-delineation algorithm that can be applied to all ECG leads is developed in this study on the basis of discrete wavelet transform (DWT). By applying a new simple approach to a selected scale obtained from DWT, this method is capable of detecting the QRS complex, P-wave, and T-wave as well as determining parameters such as start time, end time, and wave sign (upward or downward). In the proposed method, the selected scale is processed by a sliding rectangular window of length n and the curve length in each window is multiplied by the area under the absolute value of the curve. In the next step, an adaptive thresholding criterion is conducted on the resulted signal. The presented algorithm is applied to various databases including the MIT-BIH arrhythmia database, European ST-T database, QT database, CinC Challenge 2008 database as well as high-resolution Holter data gathered in the DAY Hospital. As a result, the average values of sensitivity and positive prediction Se = 99.84 per cent and P+ = 99.80 per cent were obtained for the detection of QRS complexes with an average maximum delineation error of 13.7, 11.3, and 14.0 ms for the P-wave, QRS complex, and T-wave respectively. The presented algorithm has considerable capability in cases of a low signal-to-noise ratio, high baseline wander, and in cases where QRS complexes and T-waves appear with abnormal morphologies. Especially, the high capability of the algorithm in the detection of the critical points of the ECG signal, i.e. the beginning and end of the T-wave and the end of the QRS complex was validated by the cardiologist and the maximum values of 16.4 and 15.9 ms were recognized as absolute offset error of localization respectively. Finally, in order to illustrate an alternative capability of the algorithm, it is applied to all 18 subjects of the MIT-BIH polysomnographic database and the end-systolic and end-diastolic points of the blood pressure waveform were extracted and values of sensitivity and positive prediction Se = 99.80 per cent and P+ = 99.86 per cent were obtained for the detection of end-systolic, end-diastolic pulses.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20225455

Original Article

A robust wavelet-based multi-lead electrocardiogram delineation algorithm

  • a Department of Mechanical Engineering, K.N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
  • b CardioVascular Research Group (CVRG), Iran
  • c Non-invasive Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratory, DAY Hospital, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

A robust multi-lead ECG wave detection-delineation algorithm is developed in this study on the basis of discrete wavelet transform (DWT). By applying a new simple approach to a selected scale obtained from DWT, this method is capable of detecting QRS complex, P-wave and T-wave as well as determining parameters such as start time, end time, and wave sign (upward or downward). First, a window with a specific length is slid sample to sample on the selected scale and the curve length in each window is multiplied by the area under the absolute value of the curve. In the next step, a variable thresholding criterion is designed for the resulted signal. The presented algorithm is applied to various databases including MIT-BIH arrhythmia database, European ST-T Database, QT Database, CinC Challenge 2008 Database as well as high resolution Holter data of DAY Hospital. As a result, the average values of sensitivity and positive predictivity Se = 99.84% and P+ = 99.80% were obtained for the detection of QRS complexes, with the average maximum delineation error of 13.7 ms, 11.3 ms and 14.0 ms for P-wave, QRS complex and T-wave, respectively. The presented algorithm has considerable capability in cases of low signal-to-noise ratio, high baseline wander, and abnormal morphologies. Especially, the high capability of the algorithm in the detection of the critical points of the ECG signal, i.e. the beginning and end of T-wave and the end of the QRS complex was validated by cardiologists in DAY hospital and the maximum values of 16.4 ms and 15.9 ms were achieved as absolute offset error of localization, respectively.

Abbreviations

  • ACL, area-curve length;
  • ECG, electrocardiogram;
  • DWT, discrete wavelet transform;
  • QTDB, QT database;
  • MITDB, MIT-BIH arrhythmia database; 
  • TWADB, T-wave alternans database;
  • CSEDB, common standards for electrocardiography database;
  • EDB, European ST-T database;
  • P+, positive predictivity (%);
  • Se,sensitivity (%);
  • FIR, finite-duration impulse response;
  • LE, location error;
  • CHECK#0, procedure of evaluating obtained results using MIT annotation files;
  • CHECK#1, procedure of evaluating obtained results consulting with a control cardiologist;
  • CHECK#2, procedure of evaluating obtained results consulting with a control cardiologist and also at least with 3 residents

Keywords

  • ECG delineation;
  • Discrete wavelet transform;
  • Variable threshold;
  • Validation

Figures and tables from this article:

Full-size image (14 K)
Fig. 1. FIR filter-bank implementation to generate discrete wavelet transform based on à trous algorithm.
Full-size image (12 K)
Fig. 2. Graphical representation of the logic of the proposed simple transformation for detecting onset and offset edges. In case I, both area and curve length are minimum, (ACLI < ACLII ≤ ACLIII).
Full-size image (58 K)
Fig. 3. The flow-chart of the proposed wavelet-aided electrocardiogram delineation algorithm (rectangle: operation, ellipse: result).
Full-size image (113 K)
Fig. 4. An excerpted segment from a total delineated ECG. Delineated (a) P-waves, (b) QRS complexes and (c) T-waves. (Circles: edges of event, triangles: peak of events, Partition A: lead I, Partition B: lead II).
Full-size image (76 K)
Fig. 5. Procedure of detecting and delineating of P and T-waves using ACL signal between two successive QRS complexes. (a) Simultaneously depiction of ACL, original ECG and the corresponding selected DWT scale, (b) QRS delineation, and (c) P and T-waves delineation.
SOURCE:

Volume 31, Issue 10, December 2009, Pages 1219–1227

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1350453309001647

Other related articles published on this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

Sustained Cardiac Atrial Fibrillation: Management Strategies by Director of the Arrhythmia Service and Electrophysiology Lab at The Johns Hopkins Hospital   https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/10/16/sustained-cardiac-atrial-fibrillation-management-strategies-by-director-of-the-arrhythmia-service-and-electrophysiology-lab-at-the-johns-hopkins-hospital/

Cardiac Arrhythmias: A Risk for Extreme Performance Athletes                                                                                                                                                       https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/08/08/cardiac-arrhythmias-a-risk-for-extreme-performance-athletes/

Acute Chest Pain/ER Admission: Three Emerging Alternatives to Angiography and PCI    https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/03/10/acute-chest-painer-admission-three-emerging-alternatives-to-angiography-and-pci/

Dilated Cardiomyopathy: Decisions on implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) using left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and Midwall Fibrosis: Decisions on Replacement using late gadolinium enhancement cardiovascular MR (LGE-CMR)
https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/03/10/dilated-cardiomyopathy-decisions-on-implantable-cardioverter-defibrillators-icds-using-left-ventricular-ejection-fraction-lvef-and-midwall-fibrosis-decisions-on-replacement-using-late-gadolinium/

Ablation Devices Market to 2016 – Global Market Forecast and Trends Analysis by Technology, Devices & Applications
https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/12/23/ablation-devices-market-to-2016-global-market-forecast-and-trends-analysis-by-technology-devices-applications/

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Predicting Drug Toxicity for Acute Cardiac Events

Reporter: Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/?p=10679/Predicting Drug Toxicity for Acute Cardiac Events

Pharmaceuticals Dilemma

The pharmaceutical industry has, as the clinical diagnostics industry, consolidated, and seen new entries that are at some time merged into an established giant, needing resources to grow.  In the past, it was considered essential for a scientific commercial entity to invest at least 8 percent of budget to R&D.   However, the cost of manufacturing has gone down, but a large part of the budget outside of manufacture has to be taken up with, maybe a few exceptions, development, validation in clinical trials, and marketing.  This leaves the situation precarious without a basic research base, and has lead to consortia between academic centers, the federal governmant, and the industries.  I can’t venture into the role of Wall Street Investment and Venture Capital in the process of innovation, proprietary rights to discoveries, and viability.  A large problem they encounter really comes down to complexity of the biomedical reality, that keeps peeling off layers like an onion, exposing new problems to deal with.  As a result, we have seen repeated recalls of drugs that were blockbusters, over the last 2 decades.  To date, every “miracle” drug to manage sepsis and the several cardiac related drugs have  resulted in unexpected toxicities.
One of the leading causes of drug attrition during development is cardiac toxicity, which has a serious impact on cost and can impact getting new drugs to patients. Detecting cardiovascular safety issues earlier in the drug development program

  • would produce significant benefits for pharmaceutical companies and, ultimately, public health, but
    • the reduction of therapeutic toxicities will not be easy and depends on the
    • emergence of genomic-based personalized medicine.

Comprehensive cardiovascular and electrophysiology assessments are routinely conducted in vivo and in vitro early in the preclinical or lead optimization phases of drug development. For example,

  • the isolated perfused guinea pig heart preparation (classically called the Langendorff preparation)
  • can be used to screen a series of related new chemical entities (NCE)

in the lead optimization phase for preliminary information on the relative effects on contractility and rhythm.
Additionally, intact animal non-GLP studies—generally conducted in anesthetized, non-recovery models—are designed to assess

  • effects of NCEs on a range of acute hemodynamic and cardiac parameters such as
    • heart rate,
    • blood pressure,
    • electrocardiogram (ECG),
    • ventricular contractility,
    • vascular resistance,
    • cardiac output, etc.

These studies employ small numbers of animals, but may allow termination of research into NCEs with obvious cardiovascular side effects. These preparations also provide information on the involvement of the

  • autonomic nervous system in the cardiovascular responses of the NCE.

Such effects can be important determinants in the total cardiovascular response to an NCE, and this information cannot be obtained with any known in vitro method.
But what if there are dangers that are not predictable in the short term because of the time span under which the effects can be viewed? The effects themselves are a result of interactions between

  • the drug,
  • endothelial cell receptors,
  • and/or imbalance in oxidative stress promoters and suppressors,
  • and involve signaling pathways.

That is a difficult challenge that may only be realized

  • by rapidly advancing knowledge at the molecular cell level.

The ICH S7A and ICH S7B guidelines provide

  • guidance on important physiological systems and
  • assessment of pharmaceuticals on
    • ventricular repolarization and
    • proarrhythmic risk.

The guidelines were designed to protect patients from potential adverse effects of pharmaceuticals. Since these guidelines were issued in 2000 and 2005, respectively,

  • cardiac safety study designs have been realigned
  • to identify potential concerns prior to administering the first dose to humans.

It is now routine for all NCEs to be evaluated using an

  • in vitro Ikr assay such as the hERG voltage patch clamp assay to assess for
    • the potential for QT interval prolongation.

Systems have evolved to screen large numbers of compounds

  • using automated high-throughput patch clamp systems early in the lead
  • optimization/drug discovery phase.

This is a cost effective method for determining an initial go/no-go gate. Once a compound has progressed to

  • the development phase, it can once again be assessed with the hERG assay
  • utilizing the gold standard manual patch clamp assay.

If the NCE under investigation is a cardiovascular therapy, then

  • pharmacological characterization should occur
  • early in the lead development process.

In addition to the techniques just discussed,

  • a variety of “disease models” are available to help determine
    • whether the NCE will be efficacious in a clinical setting.

However sound the in vitro data used in screening and selection process (e.g., receptor-binding studies),

  • NCEs that have been shown to be active in at least one in vivo model (e.g,. salt-sensitive Dahl rat model)
  • have a higher likelihood of clinical success.

Once a lead is identified, it should still go through the generalized safety characterization discussed earlier.
The in vivo study designs for NCEs reaching the development phase to support the Investigational New Drug (IND) application (just prior to the first human dose) require acquisition of

  1. heart rate,
  2. blood pressure, and
  3. ECG data
    • using an appropriate species
    • at and above clinically relevant doses.

The trend in the industry for these regulatory-driven studies has been to

  • utilize animals surgically instrumented with telemetry devices that
  • can acquire the required parameters.

The advantage of using instrumented animals over anesthetized animals is that

  • data can be acquired from freely moving animals over greater periods of time
  • without anesthetic in the test system,
    • which has the potential to confound and perturb results interpretation.

Appropriate dose selection relative to those used in the clinic provides valuable information about

  • potential acute cardiac events and
  • how they may impact trial participants.

The obvious limitation here is that the method of observation is essentially

  • the same or less than that which is used in clinical practice,
  • relying mainly on classical physiology to detect
    • inherently deep seated processes.

But it is not the same scale of issue as for the patient emergently presenting to the ED. Despite enormous efforts to reduce the development of and the complications of acute ischemia related cardiac events,

the accurate diagnosis of the patient presenting to the emergency room is still, as always, reliant on

  • clinical history,
  • physical examination,
  • effective use of the laboratory, and
  • increasingly helpful imaging technology.

and age, sex, diet, and ability to carry out the activities of daily living before treatment and 6 months to a year after discharge are relevant.

The main issue that we have a consensus agreement that PLAQUE RUPTURE is not the only basis for a cardiac ischemic event. There will be more to say about this.
Animal studies
Telemetry-instrumented animals can be used as screening tools earlier in the drug selection phase. Colonies of animals that can be reused, following a suitable wash-out period,
provide an excellent resource for screening compounds to detect unwanted side effects. The use of these animals

  • coupled with
  • recent advances in software-analysis systems allow for rapid data turnaround,
    • enables scientists to quickly determine if there are any potentially unwanted signals.

If any effects are detected on, for example, blood pressure or QT interval, then the decision to

  • either shelve the drug or
  • conduct additional studies

can be made before advancing any further in the developmental phase.   While this is very good for observing large effects, is it really sufficient for avoidance of late phase failure?

Interestingly, the experience that has been acquired since the approval of the ICH guidelines

  • has allowed pharmaceutical companies to temper their response to finding a potentially unwanted signal.
  • Rather than permanently shelve libraries of compounds that, for example, were
  • found to be positive in the hERG assay—common practice when the 2005 guidelines came into being—
    • companies can now determine a risk potential based on knowledge gained with the intact animal studies.

Similarly, if changes in hemodynamic parameters are detected, there are follow-up experiments employing anesthetized or telemetry models that include additional measurements like

left ventricular pressure.
These experiments can be utilized to further assess their potential clinical impact
by examining effects on
myocardial contractility,
relaxation, and
conduction velocity.
These techniques primarily address acute effects: those following a single exposure.
Chronic effects—those seen with long-term administration of the NCE to an intact organism—are difficult to obtain in early development, but are routinely monitored during safety studies,
are conducted non-clinically during Phase 1 and 2 of the development process.

  • ECGs typically are collected to evaluate the chronic cardiac effects in non-rodent species during these studies. It is recommended that
    • JET (jacketed external telemetry) techniques, which permit the recording of ECG’s—
    • but not blood pressure—

be applied in freely moving animals. If chronic effects are discovered,

  • follow-up experiments can be conducted with any of the techniques mentioned in this article.

As the focus on cardiac safety has matured over the last 10 years, the Safety Pharmacology Society has led efforts to establish an approach

  • to determine best practices for conducting key preclinical cardiovascular assessments in drug development.
  •  to provide sensitive preclinical assays that can detect high-probability safety concerns.

Parallel efforts have been made to more accurately assess the translation of preclinical cardiovascular data into

  • clinical outcomes and
  • to encourage collaborations
    • between preclinical and clinical scientists involved in cardiac safety assessment.

This has been conducted under the umbrella of the International Life Science Institute–Health and Environmental Services Institute (ILSI-HESI) consortium, which has bought together

  • industrial,
  • academic, and
  • government scientists
    • to discuss and determine what steps are necessary
    • to establish an integrated cardiovascular safety assessment program.

The goal is to provide better ways of predicting potential adverse events, allowing for earlier detection of cardiovascular safety issues and reducing the number of clinical trial failures.
http://www.dddmag.com/articles/2012/08/predicting-potential-cardiac-events?et_cid=2816494&et_rid=45527476&linkid=http%3a%2f%2fwww.dddmag.com%2farticles%2f2012%2f08%2fpredicting-potential-cardiac-events.

A recent poster presentation I think makes a good statement of advances that should move us forward:

http://www.biotechniques.com/multimedia/archive/00178/BTN_0311-March_Post_178205a.pdf

Another possibility is genetic testing to determine the likelihood of stroke, for example Corus CAD is

  • a shoebox-size kit that uses a simple blood draw to measure the RNA levels of 23 genes.
  •  it creates an algorrhytm-based score that determines the likelihood that a patient has obstructive coronary artery disease.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/08/14/obstructive-coronary-artery-disease-diagnosed-by-rna-levels-of-23-genes-cardiodx-heart-disease-test-wins-medicare-coverage/
“By providing Medicare beneficiaries access to Corus CAD, this coverage decision enables patients to avoid unnecessary procedures and risks associated with cardiac imaging and elective invasive angiography, while helping payers address an area of significant healthcare spending,” CardioDx President and CEO David Levison said in a press release.
This discussion will be followed with a discussion of the evaluation of the patient acutely presenting with symptoms and signs that are suggestive of either acute pulmonary or cardiac disease, or both, that may be suggestive of a non ST elevation AMI. It becomes more difficult if ST depression or T-wave inversion is not detected.
Related articles
Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease diagnosed by RNA levels of 23 genes – CardioDx, a Pioneer in the Field of Cardiovascular Genomic Diagnostics
https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/08/14/obstructive-coronary-artery-disease-diagnosed-by-rna-levels-of-23-genes-cardiodx-heart-disease-test-wins-medicare-coverage/

English: QT interval corrected by heart rate.

English: QT interval corrected by heart rate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Schematic diagram of normal sinus rhythm for a...

Schematic diagram of normal sinus rhythm for a human heart as seen on ECG (with English labels). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Reported & Curated by: Dr. Venkat S. Karra, Ph.D.

Predicting Potential Cardiac Events

One of the leading causes of drug attrition during development is cardiac toxicity, which has a serious impact on cost and can impact getting new drugs to patients. Detecting cardiovascular safety issues earlier in the drug development program would produce significant benefits for pharmaceutical companies and, ultimately, public health.

Comprehensive cardiovascular and electrophysiology assessments are routinely conducted in vivo and in vitro early in the preclinical or lead optimization phases of drug development. For example, the isolated perfused guinea pig heart preparation (classically called the Langendorff preparation) can be used to screen a series of related new chemical entities (NCE) in the lead optimization phase for preliminary information on the relative effects on contractility and rhythm. Additionally, intact animal non-GLP studies—generally conducted in anesthetized, non-recovery models—are designed to assess effects of NCEs on a range of acute hemodynamic and cardiac parameters such as heart rate, blood pressure, electrocardiogram (ECG), ventricular contractility, vascular resistance, cardiac output, etc. These studies employ small numbers of animals, but by allowing scientists to terminate research into NCEs with obvious cardiovascular side effects, they can eliminate the need for larger animal studies later in the development process. These preparations also provide information on the involvement of the autonomic nervous system in the cardiovascular responses of the NCE. Such effects can be important determinants in the total cardiovascular response to an NCE, and this information cannot be obtained with any known in vitro method.

The ICH S7A and ICH S7B guidelines provide guidance on important physiological systems and assessment of pharmaceuticals on ventricular repolarization and proarrhythmic risk. The guidelines were designed to protect patients from potential adverse effects of pharmaceuticals. Since these guidelines were issued in 2000 and 2005, respectively, cardiac safety study designs have been realigned to identify potential concerns prior to administering the first dose to humans. It is now routine for all NCEs to be evaluated using an in vitro Ikr assay such as the hERG voltage patch clamp assay to assess for the potential for QT interval prolongation. Systems have evolved to screen large numbers of compounds using automated high-throughput patch clamp systems early in the lead optimization/drug discovery phase. This is a cost effective method for determining an initial go/no-go gate. Once a compound has progressed to the development phase, it can once again be assessed with the hERG assay utilizing the gold standard manual patch clamp assay.

If the NCE under investigation is a cardiovascular therapy, then pharmacological characterization should also occur early in the lead development process. In addition to some of the techniques already discussed, a variety of disease models are available to help determine if the NCE will be efficacious in a clinical setting. However sound the in vitro data used in screening and selection process (e.g., receptor-binding studies), NCEs that have been shown to be active in at least one in vivo model (e.g,. salt-sensitive Dahl rat model) have a higher likelihood of clinical success. Once a lead is identified, it should still go through the generalized safety characterization discussed earlier.

The in vivo study designs for NCEs reaching the development phase to support the Investigational New Drug (IND) application (just prior to the first human dose) require acquisition of heart rate, blood pressure, and ECG data using an appropriate species at and above clinically relevant doses.

The trend in the industry for these regulatory-driven studies has been to utilize animals surgically instrumented with telemetry devices that can acquire the required parameters. The advantage of using instrumented animals over anesthetized animals is that data can be acquired from freely moving animals over greater periods of time without anesthetic in the test system, which has the potential to confound and perturb results interpretation. Appropriate dose selection relative to those used in the clinic provides valuable information about potential acute cardiac events and how they may impact trial participants.

Animal studies
Telemetry-instrumented animals can be used as screening tools earlier in the drug selection phase. Colonies of animals that can be reused, following a suitable wash-out period, provide an excellent resource for screening compounds to detect unwanted side effects. The use of these animals coupled with recent advances in software-analysis systems allow for rapid data turnaround, which enables scientists to quickly determine if there are any potentially unwanted signals. If any effects are detected on, for example, blood pressure or QT interval, then the decision to either shelve the drug or conduct additional studies can be made before advancing any further in the developmental phase.

Interestingly, the experience that has been acquired since the approval of the ICH guidelines has allowed pharmaceutical companies to temper their response to finding a potentially unwanted signal. Rather than permanently shelve libraries of compounds that, for example, were found to be positive in the hERG assay—common practice when the 2005 guidelines came into being—companies can now determine a risk potential based on knowledge gained with the intact animal studies.

Similarly, if changes in hemodynamic parameters are detected, there are follow-up experiments employing anesthetized or telemetry models that include additional measurements like left ventricular pressure. These experiments can be utilized to further assess their potential clinical impact by examining effects on myocardial contractility, relaxation, and conduction velocity.

These techniques primarily address acute effects: those following a single exposure. Chronic effects—those seen with long-term administration of the NCE to an intact organism—are difficult to obtain in early development, but are routinely monitored during safety studies, which are conducted non-clinically during Phase 1 and 2 of the development process. ECGs typically are collected to evaluate the chronic cardiac effects in non-rodent species during these studies. While traditional ECGs can be taken, it is recommended that JET (jacketed external telemetry) techniques, which permit the recording of ECG’s—but not blood pressure—in freely moving animals, be applied. If chronic effects are discovered, follow-up experiments can be conducted with any of the techniques mentioned in this article.

As the focus on cardiac safety has matured over the last 10 years, the Safety Pharmacology Society has led efforts to establish an approach to determine best practices for conducting key preclinical cardiovascular assessments in drug development. From this, the hope is to provide sensitive preclinical assays that can detect high-probability safety concerns. Parallel efforts have been made to more accurately assess the translation of preclinical cardiovascular data into clinical outcomes and to encourage collaborations between preclinical and clinical scientists involved in cardiac safety assessment.

This has been conducted under the umbrella of the International Life Science Institute–Health and Environmental Services Institute (ILSI-HESI) consortium, which has bought together industrial, academic, and government scientists to discuss and determine what steps are necessary to establish an integrated cardiovascular safety assessment program. The goal is to provide better ways of predicting potential adverse events, allowing for earlier detection of cardiovascular safety issues and reducing the number of clinical trial failures.

http://www.dddmag.com/articles/2012/08/predicting-potential-cardiac-events?et_cid=2816494&et_rid=45527476&linkid=http%3a%2f%2fwww.dddmag.com%2farticles%2f2012%2f08%2fpredicting-potential-cardiac-events.

Another possibility is genetic testing to determine the likelihood of stroke, for example Corus CAD is a shoebox-size kit that uses a simple blood draw to measure the RNA levels of 23 genes. Using an algorithm, it then creates a score that determines the likelihood that a patient has obstructive coronary artery disease.

“By providing Medicare beneficiaries access to Corus CAD, this coverage decision enables patients to avoid unnecessary procedures and risks associated with cardiac imaging and elective invasive angiography, while helping payers address an area of significant healthcare spending,” CardioDx President and CEO David Levison said in a press release.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2272&action=edit

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Scale‑Free Diagnosis of AMI from Clinical Laboratory Values

William P. Fisher, Jr., Larry H. Bernstein, Thomas A Naegele, Arden

Forrey, Asadullah Qamar, Joseph Babb, Eugene W. Rypka, Donna Yasick

Objective. Clinicians are often challenged with interpreting myriads of laboratory test results with few resources for knowing which values are most relevant, when any given value indicates a need for action, or how urgent the need for action is. The arrival of the electronic health record creates a context in which computational resources for meeting these challenges will be readily available. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of employing probabilistic conjoint (Rasch) measurement models for creating the needed scale‑free standard measures and data quality standards.

Methods. Pathology data from 144 clients suspected of suffering myocardial infarctions were obtained. Thirty indicators were converted from their original values to ratings indicating a worsening of condition. These conversions took advantage of the fact that serial measurement of creatine kinase (CK; EC 2.7.3.2) isoenzyme MB (CK‑MB) and lactic dehydrogenase (LD; EC 1.1.1.27) isoenzyme 1 (LD‑1) in serum have characteristic evolutions in acute myocardial infarction (AMI). CK‑MB concentration begins to rise within 4 to 8 hours, peaks at 12 to 24 hours, and returns to normal within 48 to 72 hours. LD‑1 becomes elevated as early as 8 to 24 hours after infarction, and reaches a peak in 48 to 72 hours. However, the ratio of serum activity of LD‑1/total LD may be more definitive than LD‑1 activity itself. While these are most important in ECG negative AMI, they are not by themselves a “gold standard” for diagnosis.

The additional information and functionality required for such standards, including probabilistic estimates of scale parameters whose values do not depend on the calibrating sample and the capacity to deal with missing data, were sought by fitting the data to a Rasch partial credit model. This model estimates separate rating step values for each group of items sharing a common rating structure, en route to testing the hypothesis that the items work together to delineate a unidimensional measurement continuum defined by the repetition of a single unit quantity.

Results. Twenty of the 30 items were identified as delineating a unidimensional continuum.  Client measurement reliability was 0.90, and item calibration reliability was 0.96. Overall model fit is indicated by the client information‑ weighted mean square fit (infit) statistic (mean = .94, SD = .34) and  outlier‑ sensitive mean square fit (outfit) statistic (mean = 1.02, SD = .72), and the item infit (mean = .99, SD = .41) and outfit (mean = 1.04, SD = .72). The data‑to‑ model global fit is also indicated by the chi‑square of 3094.5, with 164 maximum independent parameters, 2766 maximum degrees of  freedom, and a probability (statistical significance) of less than .01 that this ora greater chi‑square would be observed with perfect data‑model fit.

Discussion. The analysis identified the 20 values most relevant to the diagnosis of AMI; these data may also support the construction of a unidimensional measure of AMI severity. If the construct supports both diagnostic and severity inferences, then the clinical action needed and its urgency will be indicated by the client’s measure. Similar analyses of data from other diagnostic groups will determine the extent to which lab value item relevance and hierarchies vary across diagnoses; such variation will be crucial to determining computer‑based decision support algorithms, which will match individual clients’ data with specific diagnostic profiles. Further analyses will also demonstrate the extent to which diagnosis is affected by missing data.

 

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