New procedure treats atrial fibrillation

Doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are performing a new procedure to treat atrial fibrillation, a common irregular heartbeat. Available at only a handful of U.S. medical centers, this “hybrid” procedure combines minimally invasive surgical techniques with the latest advances in catheter ablation. The two-pronged approach gives doctors access to both the inside and outside of the heart at the same time, helping to more completely block the erratic electrical signals that cause atrial fibrillation.

New math model of heart cell has novel calcium pathway

David Kilper/WUSTL PhotoProfessor Yoram Rudy (center), with Ph.D. student Yong Wang (left) and post-doctroal fellow Leonid Livshitz (right), with their ECGI system on a mannequin, comment on the cardiac data.Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis have developed the first mathematical model of a canine cardiac cell that incorporates a vital calcium regulatory pathway with implications for life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats. Thomas J. Hund, Ph.D., post-doctoral researcher in Pathology ( in Dr. Jeffrey Saffitz laboratory) at the Washington University School of Medicine, and Yoram Rudy, The Fred Saigh Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Washington University, have incorporated the Calcium/Calmodulin-dependent Protein Kinase II (CaMKII) regulatory pathway into their model, improving the understanding of the relationship between calcium handling in cardiac cells and the cell’s electrical activity.