Cardiac electrophysiology

This interdisciplinary research group combines image-based computer models with novel imaging and measurement techniques to study the heart’s electrical activity.

The Cardiac Electrophysiology Group consists of bioengineers, physiologists and cardiologists. We are studying the electrical activity of the heart, with particular emphasis on the mechanisms that underlie arrhythmia and fibrillation.

Research question

  • Can we use patient-specific computer modelling and new catheter-based electrical mapping approaches to treat atrial fibrillation (common in people over 60) more effectively than at present?
  • Can we generate new high resolution imaging tools and image-based modelling methods that will enable us to better identify risk of sudden death due to ventricular arrhythmia.

Summary

Abnormal electrical rhythm (arrhythmia) in the heart can lead to ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac death and to sustained and debilitating atrial fibrillation. The risk of arrhythmia increases markedly with heart disease and is associated with structural changes including altered cardiac muscle cell arrangement and accumulation of connective tissue (fibrosis).

Mechanisms linking this structural remodelling with susceptibility to arrhythmia remain speculative. Proposed ideas will be tested by combining state-of-the-art 3D electrical recording methods, novel structural imaging techniques that provide more detailed information on cardiac structure than has previously been available and computer modelling.

Significant value will be added through partnership with leading North American and European researchers. Outcomes will be communicated scientifically and translated clinically through web-based repositories and visualisation tools and involvement in patient studies.

Increased understanding of mechanistic links between heart disease and arrhythmia will provide new targets for risk stratification based on fibrosis, and improve evaluation of therapies for countering sudden cardiac death, and persistent atrial fibrillation.

Funding partners

The Cardiac Electrophysiology gratefully acknowledges the support of its funding partners:

Members

Primary contacts

Jichao Zhao
Email: j.zhao@auckland.ac.nz
Phone: +64 9 923 6505

Mark Trew
Email: m.trew@auckland.ac.nz
Phone: +64 9 923 5114

Academics

Jieyun Bai
Ian LeGrice
Shu Meng
Greg Sands
Bruce Smaill
Nick Sunderland
Mark Trew
Jichao Zhao

Clinical Associates

Nigel Lever
Martin Styles

Students

Shaleka Agrawal
Kevin Jamart
Andy (Chun Yip) Lo
Emma Ordono
Girish Ramlugun
Christine Sy
Belvin Thomas
Vibujithan Vigneshwaran

Casual

Elizabeth Cheng
Helen Fu
Roshan Sharma
Zhaohan Xiong

International links

  • Australia: Victor Chang Institute UNSW, Royal Melbourne Hospital.
  • Belgium: Gent University
  • Canada: Libin Institute Calgary
  • France: Liryc Bordeaux
  • Holland: AMC Amsterdam, Mastricht University
  • UK: Oxford University, King's College London (KCL), University of Leeds, The University of Manchester and University of Sheffield
  • US: GWU, JHU, Ohio State University, Northwestern University, UCLA