How a Virtual Heart May Help Predict Arrhythmia


shutterstock_59598688Arrhythmia is a condition that can occur when the electric pulses sent from the brain to the heart create in irregular heartbeat, which may be too fast, too slow or erratic. Sometimes, arrhythmia can be harmless, although it can also life-threatening, depending on the circumstances. With new computer technology, researchers hope to be able to more accurately predict the onset of arrhythmia and determine who the best candidates for heart defibrillators may be.

How Virtual Arrhythmia Risk Prediction Works

Virtual arrhythmia risk prediction (VARP) involves an innovative computer monitoring system that can simulate an individual’s natural heartbeat without requiring invasive surgery. This virtual detection method can also account for the unique geometry of a person’s heart, as well as any scar tissue or other idiosyncrasies that may be present.

During clinical trials, VARP detected the potential for arrhythmia in some instances, and none in others, offering promising evidence that this technology could provide much more accurate and individualized assessments of a person’s heart disease risk due to an irregular heartbeat.

Heart Disease Risk Prevention

VARP technology could have big implications for heart disease risk prevention, as it could eliminate the need for invasive surgery to implant defibrillators for those who may not need them. By limiting the need for these devices, VARP could help to reduce the complications associated with defibrillator implantation, as well as provide early detection.

Those who may be at greater risk for heart-related problems due to arrhythmia include people with a past history of heart disease, diabetes or overactive thyroid glands, as well as smokers and illicit drug users. Knowing your risk factors for heart disease can be the first step towards prevention and effective treatment.