The treatment of atrial tachycardia by radio-frequency ablation is a complex and minimally invasive procedure. In most cases the surgeon uses fluoroscopic imaging to guide catheters into the atria. After recording activation potentials from the electrodes on the catheter, which has to be done for different catheter positions, the physiologist has to fuse both the activation times derived from the potentials with the fluoroscopic images and extract from these a 3D anatomical model of the atrium. This model will provide him with the necessary information to locate the ablation regions.
To alleviate the problem of mentally reconstructing these different sources of information, we propose a virtual environment that has the ability to visualize the electrodes information onto a patient specific model of the atria. This 3D atrium surface model is derived from pre-operatively taken MR-images. Within the system this model is visualized in 3 different ways: two views correspond to the 2 fluoroscopes images, which are shown registred in the background while the third one can be freely manipulated by the physiologist. The system allows to annotate measurements onto the 3D model. Since the heart is not a static organ, tools are provided to modify previous annotations interactively. The information contained in the measurements can than be dispersed across the heart after extrapolation and interpolation and subsequently visualized by color coding the surface model.
Preliminary clinical evaluation on 30 patients indicates that the combined representation of the activation times and the heart model provides a thorough and more accurate insight into the possible causes and solutions to the tachycardia than would be obtained using solely the fluoroscopes images and mental reconstruction.
Unlike other tachycardia visualization software, our approach starts with a patient specific surface model which in itself provides extra insight into the problem. Furthermore it can be used very interactively by the physiologist as a kind of 3D sketchbook where he can enter, delete, ... different measurements, tissue types. Finally, the system can visualize at any stage of the surgery a model containing all information at hand.
In this paper we present a system to represent electrocardiographic information that allows the physiologist to mark measurements which can than be visualized on a patient specific atrium model by color coding. First clinical evaluation indicates that this approach offers a considerable amount of added value.