UK first heart operations using novel system at Leicester

The UK’s first heart operations using a novel software platform to pinpoint the source of the heart condition have been carried out in Leicester thanks to research at the University.

Professor André Ng, Professor of Cardiac Electrophysiology at the University of Leicester and Consultant Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist at Leicester’s Hospitals, has carried out three operations since November 2015.

The patients suffered from a condition known as atrial fibrillation (AF) – the commonest heart rhythm disturbance affecting more than 1 million people in the UK. All three patients have now returned home following the operations which were completed successfully.

AF is a condition that causes the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to beat very fast and irregularly due to chaotic electrical activity. As a result the atria do not beat in an organised way and pump less efficiently, increasing the likelihood of stroke and heart failure.

Electrical activity in the heart is an area of specialist research at the University, spearheaded by Professor Ng and his research team in the University’s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences.  Professor Ng has been researching this field for several years and this latest technique that he is applying on a patient will help to further enhance his research.

Describing his research and the technique that he deployed for the first time in the UK, Professor Ng said: “Topera is a new software platform developed to “decode” the chaotic electrical signals and represent the activity in the form of rotor maps – allowing us to see the rotors and the centres of rotation analogous to the “eye of the storm”.

“The location of these rotors are different in different patients and hence this new software platform allows a personalised or precision approach to target localised sources for ablation rather than having to ablate over a wide area in the atrial chambers. The initial results from studies conducted in USA and some European centres e.g. Germany are promising and suggest better efficacy than the conventional approach with extensive ablation.

Professor Ng said the UK first at Leicester exemplifies how research at the University of Leicester was providing benefits for patients thanks to the partnership between the University and Leicester’s Hospitals and the support of the NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit.

Watch Professor André G Ng describe how research is moving our understanding of this condition forward and how new ways to treat the condition are being tried below: