Sudden cardiac death from coronary heart disease occurs over 900 times per day in the United States, most often caused by ventricular fibrillation. Early CPR and defibrillation within the first 3–5 minutes after collapse, plus early advanced care, can result in high (greater than 50%) long-term survival rates. Current defibrillation methods involve external defibrillator paddles that deliver a powerful electrical shock to the heart that can be extremely painful to the patient. Dr. Miguel Valderrabano and colleagues in the Optical Mapping Electrophysiology Research Laboratory are working to develop and test a novel method of cardiac stimulation and defibrillation that involves nanosecond megavolt pulse technology. The success of these research investigations will result in a new method of defibrillation that is more effective and less physically punishing than what is currently available.
|About 300,000 people die in the United States each year from sudden cardiac death, which is usually caused by an abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia. Understanding the different types of abnormal rhythms and their causes is vital in developing effective treatments. In view of this, Dr. Dirar Khoury and his research team in the Experimental Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratory are developing a state–of–the–science catheter with the ability to measure the electrophysiological function of the heart. When paired with sophisticated software applications and large–scale data processing supercomputers, this innovative imaging system will be able to create clinically usable diagnostic models that novel treatments can be based on.|
In addition to his efforts to understand arrhythmias from an electrical imaging perspective, Dr. Khoury’s research studies also include investigations into the molecular signaling pathways that could potentially be responsible for abnormal heart rhythms. He recently concluded a preclinical study that demonstrated an association between the expression of a specific protein and increased prevalence of atrial arrhythmias.
Heart failure remains a significant public health burden, with about 5 million people in the United States afflicted and more than 600,000 deaths annually. Many studies have demonstrated that the body’s immune response and subsequent inflammation contribute to the progression of chronic heart failure. Dr. Guillermo Torre-Amione and his research team in the Heart Failure Research Laboratory believe this to be true, and have conducted numerous studies of their own that confirm this finding and suggest novel immune modulatory therapies. Dr. Torre–Amione led the first two FDA–approved trials of Celacade, an outpatient procedure that aims to reduce inflammatory mediators in the patient’s blood, with impressive results. A Phase III trial is underway.
Platelet aggregation plays an important role in acute coronary syndromes, and contributes to the common complications associated with surgical and catheterization procedures. Understanding multiple functional aspect of platelets, the signaling pathways that regulate them, and potential abnormalities and their response to therapies are the primary objectives of Dr. Neal Kleiman and his research team in the Applied Platelet Physiology Laboratory. Dr. Kleiman and his team conduct important studies into investigational and FDA–approved drugs to understand the mechanisms underlying a drug’s effects and what additional factors could decrease or increase drug efficacy and safety.