Optical imaging using voltage-sensitive dyes has become an important tool for studying vortex-like electrical waves in the heart. Such waves, known as spiral or scroll waves, can spontaneously form in pathological ventricular myocardium, causing ventricular fibrillation and sudden death. Until recently, observations of scroll waves were limited to their surface manifestations, thus providing little information about the shape and location of their organizing center, the filament. We use computer modeling to assess the feasibility of visualizing filaments using dynamic transillumination imaging in conjunction with near-IR voltage-sensitive absorptive dyes (absorptive transillumination). We simulate transillumination signals produced by the intramural scroll waves in a realistic slab of ventricular tissue with trabeculated endocardial surface. The computations use a detailed ionic model of electrical excitation (LRd) coupled to a photon transport model for cardiac tissue. Our simulations show that dynamic absorptive transillumination data, with subsequent processing involving either amplitude maps, time-space plots, or power-of-the-dominant-frequency maps, can be used to reliably detect intramural scroll waves through the whole thickness (~10 mm) of the ventricular wall. Neither variations in the thickness of the myocardial wall nor noise impeded the detection of intramural filaments.
This study explores the possibility of localizing the excitation centers of electrical waves inside the heart wall using voltage-sensitive dyes (fluorescent or absorptive). In the present study, we propose a method for the 3-D localization of excitation centers from pairs of 2-D images obtained in two modes of observation: reflection and transillumination. Such images can be obtained using high-speed charge-coupled device (CCD) cameras and photodiode arrays with time resolution up to 0.5 ms. To test the method, we simulate optical signals produced by point sources and propagating ellipsoidal waves in 1-cm-thick slabs of myocardial tissue. Solutions of the optical diffusion equation are constructed by employing the method of images with Robin boundary conditions. The coordinates of point sources as well as of the centers of expanding waves can be accurately determined using the proposed algorithm. The method can be extended to depth estimations of the outer boundaries of the expanding wave. The depth estimates are based on ratios of spatially integrated images. The method shows high tolerance to noise and can give accurate results even at relatively low signal-to-noise ratios. In conclusion, we propose a novel and efficient algorithm for the localization of excitation centers in 3-D cardiac tissue.
Until recently, optical mapping of electrical activity in the heart muscle using voltage-sensitive dyes has mainly been applied to subsurface imaging. Here we present a method for the three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of electrical activity deep inside the myocardial wall. We propose an alternative approach to diffusive optical tomography, based on ideas from binocular vision. Detection and illumination occur on opposite sides of the preparation. Staining with absorptive voltage-sensitive dyes is assumed. Data acquisition follows a paraxial scanning procedure, which modifies coaxial scanning by the introduction of a vector offset between illumination and detection axes. Pairs of 2D images are obtained corresponding to offsets of opposite signs. Those image pairs created by parallax are used as an input for the reconstruction algorithm, whose output is a 3D optical image of intramural electrical excitation. We apply this method to the slab geometry. The procedure was tested for a variety of computer-generated sources including particles, lines, bubbles, and simulated electrophysiological patterns such as scroll waves. The limitations of the method and possible improvements are discussed.
Voltage-sensitive dyes have become an important tool in visualizing electrical activity in cardiac tissue. However, there are no established methods for assessing the contribution of intramural electrical excitation to recorded optical signals. Here, we develop algorithms to calculate voltage-dependent optical signals from three-dimensional distributions of transmembrane voltage inside the myocardial wall (the forward problem). Optical diffusion theory is applied for different imaging modes including subsurface imaging or epi-illumination, transillumination and coaxial scanning. We use the solutions of the forward problem to assess these imaging methods with respect to their effectiveness in visualizing two types of 3D cardiac activity: electrical point sources and intramural scroll waves initiated at various depths. Simulations were performed both for fluorescent and absorptive voltage-sensitive dyes. In the case of point sources, we focus on the lateral optical resolution, as a function of the source depth. We find that, among the studied methods, fluorescent coaxial scanning yields the best optical resolution (<2.5 mm). In the case of scroll waves we investigate how well the filament, i.e. the organizing center, can be visualized as function of its depth. Our results show that using absorptive transillumination, filaments can be detected up to 3 mm below the recording surface. The presented results provide a powerful tool for the interpretation of experimental data and are the first step towards the development of inverse procedures.