Cardiologist-electrophysiologists use mapping systems on a daily basis, but often without having full insight into how the systems work. Prof. Dr. Natasja de Groot, professor at Erasmus MC and scientific lead at the Medical Delta program Cardiac Arrhythmia Lab, is going to prepare a guideline for the use of such systems as chairman of an international committee of engineers and cardiologists.
The systems evaluated by the committee map the electrical activity of the heart and are used in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias by ablation therapy. The various cardiac electro-anatomical mapping systems on the market are a black box for many doctors. They do not know exactly which techniques are behind it and whether a specific system actually works well for specific cases. For this they must now rely on what the manufacturer says. The committee, consisting of 23 engineers and doctors from all over the world, draws up a consensus document to provide more insight into this. This can serve as a guideline for the use of such systems. The guideline aims to help doctors with the medical examination, in which cases they can use which systems best.
The committee of doctors and engineers looks critically at the systems that are on the market. In particular, the signal registration and signal processing techniques are thoroughly evaluated. In addition to being chairman, Prof. Dr. Natasja de Groot is also the initiator of this international committee, which also includes Prof. Dr. Alle-Jan van der Veen of TU Delft. “My line of research within the Medical Delta Cardiac Arrhythmia Lab program focuses on the mechanism of cardiac arrhythmias, investigated by means of cardiac mapping techniques, so this document fits well. The beauty of the composition of the committee is that it consists of both doctors and engineers. The engineers look at whether the measuring instruments do what they promise and how exactly they do it. In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of the various systems are compared. So the engineer helps the doctor with his work. "
Cardiologist-electrophysiologists from around the world make daily use of the mapping systems that are being evaluated. There are currently eight systems on the market and within these systems there are countless signal recording options. In addition, the signals are processed in various ways. “The point is that you know well which processing system fits what you want to measure and which device you need for that. Now doctors sometimes find out afterwards that they have not been able to properly measure what they wanted to measure, ”says De Groot. “It is also important that new equipment is critically reviewed before it is launched. The guideline will help with that. "
The consensus document to be drawn up can serve as a source of information for such systems worldwide. Professional organizations send a delegation from every continent; for Europe that is the European Heart Rhythm Association. "The committee has just been put together," says De Groot. “The first actions are now being taken. The idea is to have the document ready next summer and to be able to publish it afterwards. When that is exactly, is difficult to estimate at this moment.”