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Targeting the right atrium, the forgotten chamber of the heart

Year:
2021
Duration:
60 months
Approved budget:
$1,199,999.65
Researchers:
Associate Professor Jichao Zhao
,
Professor Vadim Fedorov
,
Associate Professor Martin Stiles
,
Associate Professor Regis Lamberts
,
Professor Bruce Smaill
Health issue:
Cardiovascular/cerebrovascular
Proposal type:
Project
Lay summary
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disturbance and contributes significantly to New Zealand’s health burden. New Zealand has the second-highest lifetime risk of stroke among developed nations and AF causes one out of five strokes in the elderly. Percutaneous ablation is a promising treatment for AF patients, but patients with stubborn AF may need multiple procedures. Whereas ablation strategies in the left atrium are well studied, a standardised strategy for the right atrium (RA) is not yet established, despite ablation targets being distributed throughout both atria. It remains unclear why certain RA regions contribute to heart rhythm disturbance. To investigate this, we will use functionally and structurally mapped explanted human hearts, structural analysis, and computer models. Finally, we will explore a new RA ablation paradigm to improve ablation success using computer models, experimental and clinical ablation studies. Our research offers powerful scientific, health and economic benefits.