Conceptual intra-cardiac electrode configurations that facilitate directional cardiac stimulation for optimal electrotherapy

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OBJECTIVE: Electrotherapy remains the most effective direct therapy against lethal cardiac arrhythmias. When an arrhythmic event is sensed, either strong electric shocks or controlled rapid pacing is automatically applied directly to the heart via an implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICDs). Despite their success, ICDs remain a highly non-optimal therapy: the strong shocks required for defibrillation cause significant extra-cardiac stimulation, resulting in pain and long-term tissue damage, and can also limit battery life. When used in antitachycardia pacing mode, ICDs are also often ineffective, as the pacing electrode can be far away from the centre of the arrhythmia, making it hard for the paced wave to interrupt and terminate it. METHODS: In this work, we present two conceptual intra-cardiac directional electrode configurations in silico based on novel arrangements of pairs of positive-negative electrodes. Both configurations have the potential to cause preferential excitation on specific regions of the heart. RESULTS: We demonstrate how the properties of the induced field varies spatially around the electrodes and how it depends upon the specific arrangements of dipole electrode pairs. The results show that when tested within anatomically-realistic rabbit ventricular models, both electrode configurations produce strong virtual electrodes on the targeted endocardial surfaces, with weaker virtual electrodes produced elsewhere. CONCLUSIONS: The proposed electrode configurations may facilitate targeted farfield anti-tachycardia pacing and/or defibrillation, which may be useful in cases where conventional anti-tachycardia pacing fails. In addition, the conceptual electrode designs intrinsically confine the electric field to the immediate vicinity of the electrodes, and may thus minimize pain due to unnecessary extra-cardiac stimulation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Early online date24 Sept 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Sept 2018


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