Researchers Create Open-source Solution to Monitor Cardiac Arrhythmias

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The new open-source optical mapping system simultaneously tracks cardiac electrical excitation and intracellular calcium dynamics.

An international research team has developed an open-source solution for multiparametric optical mapping of the heart’s electrical activity.

The solution could help researchers better understand the mechanisms underlying cardiac arrhythmias and develop affordable optical mapping system, they said.

The 3D models of the mapping system components and the source code for the data analysis have been made openly available to enable other research groups to benefit from the new solution.

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The team include researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) and The George Washington University (GW).

Optical mapping is currently the leading technique for investigating the mechanisms behind arrhythmias. A number of intracellular parameter changes can be tracked this way using high-speed cameras, but the high cost of the equipment and the technical challenges of monitoring multiple parameters at the same time and processing the associated signals have prevented widespread use of optical mapping in the biological community, the researchers said.

New solution may help researchers create affordable optical mapping system

The researchers developed an open-source and expansible system that simultaneously tracks cardiac electrical excitation and intracellular calcium dynamics. Every system component, excluding cameras, lenses and pumps, was 3D printed. Since the designs of all components are open source, any laboratory can use the designs to create a similar tool.

The researchers calculated that this could save other labs about $20,000, compared with commercially available products.

Along with the designs for the system components, the team open-sourced the code of their MATLAB-based RHYTHM software for signal processing.

While a previously released version of this software allowed for analysis of action potential duration, generation of activation, and phase maps, the updated version, RHYTHM 1.2, analyzes several additional parameters of voltage and calcium recording.

“Our laboratory maintains an open data policy,” said professor Igor Efimov of GW, who also heads the Human Physiology Lab at MIPT.

“Not many research teams nowadays can afford the expensive equipment for optical mapping. Now they can use our designs to re-create an affordable system just like the one we used. And they can process the data with RHYTHM. A further advantage of our tool is that it offers the freedom to design new experiments on diverse samples,” he added.

(With inputs from Photonics Media)

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