The human heart is a fascinating machine whose mechanical and electrical synergy creates a powerful and efficient dynamic system that beats tirelessly over two billion times in an average lifespan. It comprises an intricate synchronous electrical system whose rhythmic activation enables the mechanical contraction and relaxation that result in a heartbeat. An abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) can be caused by functional irregularities in cardiac electrical activity. The past decade has seen an abundance of medical devices aiming to restore normal cardiac rhythm. However, given the spatiotemporal and structural complexity of the human heart, designing algorithms to effectively control the heart rate and prevent fatal rhythms has been challenging. There is a pressing need to better understand cardiac dynamics, the initiation of unstable rhythms in the heart, and subsequently, their prevention. The focus of my research was to develop and implement a novel, physiologically-relevant, real-time, beat-to-beat cardiac control technique to preserve stable cardiac rhythms. In addition I aimed to utilize the high resolution technique of optical mapping to study the electrophysiological effects of novel anti-arrhythmic cardiac pacing algorithms and assess their efficacy in the prediction, prevention and control of cardiac arrhythmias.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2017. Major: Biomedical Engineering. Advisor: Alena Talkachova. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 113 pages.
Modulating Cardiac Dynamics: The Prediction, Prevention and Control of Cardiac Alternans.
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