Interpreting complex body signals to predict sudden cardiac death-the largest killer in the Western Hemisphere.
Indranill Basu Ray
Harvard-Thorndike Arrythmia Institute, Harvard Medical Schoo
Last modified: May 29, 2006
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is the largest killer in the United States of America and the Western Hemisphere. Around 300-400,000 people die annually in the US due to SCD. Infact every two minutes one american is dying because of SCD. In this cardiovascular syndrome death occurs in seconds to minutes as a result of a very fast heart beat called Ventricular Tachycardia/Ventricular Fibrillation. Death occurs in most cases even before emergency services are called or is able to reach the victim. In adults aged over 35 years of age in this country, SCD is overwhelmingly due to chronic coronary artery disease. Thus in essence every person who has had a heart attack is potentially at the risk of SCD.
There is a considerable interest in determing if the body signals the impending doom in form of emitting complex signal/s that can be picked up by a body surface or an intracardiac lead(sensor placed inside the heart). Heart Rate Variability, T wave alternans and Signal Averaged ECG (electrocardiogram) are some of the non-invasive modalities used to analyse the chance of SCD in a particular individual. These are all derived from standard surface ECG. There may however be more complex but definitive intracardiac signals that point to the same. Research by the author and others seems to indicate that complex interaction of cardiac nervous system, the semi dead myocardium interact to intiate and perpetuate this deadly killer. Can we predict this deadly cross talk?
This talk would analyse the latest in our knowledge in terms of picking and analysing cardiac signals to predict SCD, in the hope of saving thousands of life.
This is an invited paper presentation.