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Title: The contact electrogram and its architectural determinants in atrial fibrillation
Author: Zaman, Junaid
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 7927
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2019
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The electrogram is the sine qua non of excitable tissues, yet classification in atrial fibrillation (AF) remains poorly related to substrate factors. The objective of this thesis was to establish the relationship between electrograms and two commonly implicated substrate factors, connexin 43 and fibrosis in AF. The substrates and methods chosen to achieve this ranged from human acutely induced AF using open chest surgical mapping (Chapter 6), ex vivo whole heart Langendorff (Chapter 7) with in vivo telemetry confirming spontaneous AF in a new species of rat, the Brown Norway and finally isolated atrial preparations from an older cohort of rats using orthogonal pacing and novel co-localisation methods at sub-millimetre resolution and in some atria, optical mapping (Chapter 8). In rodents, electrode size and spacing was varied (Chapters 5, 10) to study its effects on structure function correlations (Chapter 9). Novel indices of AF organisation and automated electrogram morphology were used to quantify function (Chapter 4). Key results include the discoveries that humans without any history of prior AF have sinus rhythm electrograms with high spectral frequency content, that wavefront propagation velocities correlated with fibrosis and connexin phosphorylation ratios, that AF heterogeneity of conduction correlates to fibrosis and that orthogonal pacing in heavily fibrosed atria causes anisotropy in electrogram-fibrosis correlations. Furthermore, fibrosis and connexin 43 have differing and distinct spatial resolutions in their relationship with AF organisational indices. In conclusion a new model of AF has been found, and structure function correlations shown on an unprecedented scale, but with caveats of electrode size and direction dependence. These findings impact structure function methods and prove the effect of substrate on AF organisation.
Supervisor: Peters, Nicholas Sponsor: British Heart Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral