[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Canadian electrophysiology (EP) fellowship programs have evolved in an ad hoc fashion over 30 years. This evolution has occurred in many fields in medicine and is natural when innovators and pioneers attract research fellows who help change the status quo from predominantly research to a predominantly clinical application and focus. Fellows not only push their supervisors and their centres into new areas of inquiry but also function at the most advanced level to encourage and teach junior trainees and to provide examples of excellence to residents, medical students, and other health professionals. Funding for fellows has never been provided in the traditional way through the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Advanced Education. Each Canadian centre has over the years found novel ways to fund fellowship programs, and many centres have used value-adds from procurement programs. These sources of funding are eroding as provincial government agencies are beginning to assume procurement responsibilities and local flexibility to fund fellowships is lost. In particular, provincial government agencies feel that valuable financial resources should be restricted to Canadian trainees only, despite the international consensus that fellowship is an essential time for advanced trainees to travel abroad to acquire a broad a range of experience, learn new techniques and approaches, make lifelong research connections, and hopefully return home with these skills and expertise. This article summarizes the long history of EP fellowship training in Canada, as well as EP fellowship experiences at home and abroad by Canadian electrophysiologists, in an attempt to contextualize these new realities.
The Canadian journal of cardiology 11/2013; 29(11):1527-30. · 3.12 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and purpose
Measurement of QT intervals during atrial flutter (AFL) is relevant to monitor the safety of drug delivery. Our aim is to compare QT and QTc intervals in AFL patients before and after catheter ablation in order to validate QT measurement during AFL.
25 patients suffering from AFL underwent catheter ablation; 9 were in sinus rhythm and 16 were in AFL at the time of the procedure. Holter ECGs were continuously recorded before, during and after the procedure. In AFL signals, flutter waves were subtracted using a previously-validated deconvolution-based method. Fridericia's QTc was computed before and after ablation after hysteresis reduction.
Comparing QTc values obtained before and after ablation showed that (1) the intervention did not significantly affect QTc, and (2) the QTc during AFL was concordant with the QTc value in sinus rhythm.
QTc can be reliably measured in patients with AFL using flutter wave subtraction and hysteresis reduction.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) leads are subject to technical failures and the impact of the resulting public advisories on patient welfare is unclear. The psychological status of patients who received an advisory for their Medtronic Fidelis ICD lead (Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis, MN, USA) and followed either by self-surveillance for alarm or home monitoring with CareLink was evaluated prospectively and compared to patients with ICDs not under advisory. METHODS: One hundred sixty consecutive consenting patients (90 alarms, 24 Carelinks, 46 controls) were recruited within 1.5 years of advisory notification. Advisory patients were seen immediately before being told that the automatic lead surveillance utilized since the advisory had been inadequate in warning of impending fracture, as well as 1 and 6 months after programming was optimized. Depression, anxiety, quality of life (QoL), and ICD-related concerns were assessed. RESULTS: Symptoms of depression and state anxiety were experienced by 31% and 48% of patients, respectively. QoL was impaired on all subscales. No significant group differences in distress and ICD-related concerns emerged at baseline or at follow-up. At baseline, alarm patients reported greater limitations because of body pain compared to controls (P < 0.05). All patients showed a significant reduction in body pain-related QoL at the final versus first two evaluations (P < 0.001). Advisory patients were significantly less satisfied with surveillance at follow-up than at baseline (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: There was limited evidence for worse psychosocial functioning in those at risk for ICD lead fracture, irrespective of surveillance method. However, many control and advisory patients experienced chronic distress for which counseling may prove beneficial.
Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology 11/2012; · 1.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AIMS: To quantify the sensitivity of QT heart-rate correction methods for detecting drug-induced QTc changes in thorough QT studies. METHODS: Twenty-four-hour Holter ECGs were analyzed in 66 normal subjects during placebo and moxifloxacin delivery (single oral dose). QT and RR time series were extracted. Three QTc computation methods were used: (1) Fridericia's formula, (2) Fridericia's formula with hysteresis reduction, and (3) a subject-specific approach with transfer function-based hysteresis reduction and three-parameter non-linear fitting of the QT-RR relation. QTc distributions after placebo and moxifloxacin delivery were compared in sliding time windows using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. The area under the ROC curve (AUC) served as a measure to quantify the ability of each method to detect moxifloxacin-induced QTc prolongation. RESULTS: Moxifloxacin prolonged the QTc by 10.6±6.6ms at peak effect. The AUC was significantly larger after hysteresis reduction (0.87±0.13 vs. 0.82±0.12, p<0.01) at peak effect, indicating a better discriminating capability. Subject-specific correction further increased the AUC to 0.91±0.11 (p<0.01 vs. Fridericia with hysteresis reduction). The performance of the subject-specific approach was the consequence of a substantially lower intra-subject QTc standard deviation (5.7±1.1ms vs. 8.8±1.2ms for Fridericia). CONCLUSION: The ROC curve provides a tool for quantitative comparison of QT heart rate correction methods in the context of detecting drug-induced QTc prolongation. Results support a broader use of subject-specific QT correction.
Journal of electrocardiology 09/2012; · 1.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Anticoagulation in patients undergoing atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation is crucial to minimize the risk of thromboembolic complications. There are broad ranges of approaches to anticoagulation management pre and post AF ablation procedures. The purpose of this study was to determine the anticoagulation strategies currently in use in patients peri- and post AF ablation in Canada. METHODS: A Web-based national survey of electrophysiologists performing AF ablation in Canada collected data regarding anticoagulation practice prior to ablation, periprocedural bridging, and duration of postablation anticoagulation. RESULTS: The survey was completed by 36 (97%) of the 37 electrophysiologists performing AF ablation across Canada. Prior to AF ablation, 58% of electrophysiologists started anticoagulation for patients with paroxysmal AF CHADS(2) scores of 0 to 1, 92% for paroxysmal AF CHADS(2) scores ≥ 2, 83% for persistent AF CHADS(2) scores of 0 to 1, and 97% for persistent AF CHADS(2) scores ≥ 2. For patients with CHADS(2) 0 to 1, warfarin was continued for at least 3 months by most physicians (89% for paroxysmal and 94% for persistent AF). For patients with CHADS(2) ≥ 2 and with no recurrence of AF at 1 year post ablation, 89% of physicians continued warfarin. CONCLUSIONS: Although guidelines recommend long-term anticoagulation in patients with CHADS(2) ≥ 2, 11% of physicians would discontinue warfarin in patients with no evidence of recurrent AF 1 year post successful ablation. Significant heterogeneity exists regarding periprocedural anticoagulation management in clinical practice. Clinical trial evidence is required to guide optimal periprocedural anticoagulation and therapeutic decisions regarding long-term anticoagulation after an apparently successful catheter ablation for AF.
The Canadian journal of cardiology 07/2012; · 3.12 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The QT interval in the electrocardiogram (ECG) is a measure of total duration of depolarization and repolarization. Correction for heart rate is necessary to provide a single intrinsic physiological value that can be compared between subjects and within the same subject under different conditions. Standard formulas for the corrected QT (QTc) do not fully reproduce the complexity of the dependence in the preceding interbeat intervals (RR) and inter-subject variability. In this paper, a subject-specific, nonlinear, transfer function-based correction method is formulated to compute the QTc from Holter ECG recordings. The model includes five parameters: three describing the static QT-RR relationship and two representing memory/hysteresis effects that intervene in the calculation of effective RR values. The parameter identification procedure is designed to minimize QTc fluctuations and enforce zero correlation between QTc and effective RR. Weighted regression is used to better handle unbalanced or skewed RR distributions. The proposed optimization approach provides a general mathematical framework for further extensions of the model. Validation, robustness evaluation and comparison with existing QT correction formulas is performed on ECG signals recorded during sinus rhythm, atrial pacing, tilt-table tests, stress tests and atrial flutter (29 subjects in total). The resulting average modeling error on the QTc is 4.9 ± 1.1 ms with a sampling interval of 2 ms, which outperforms correction formulas currently used. The results demonstrate the benefits of subject-specific rate correction and hysteresis reduction.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Analysis of T waves in the ECG is an essential clinical tool for diagnosis, monitoring, and follow-up of patients with heart dysfunction. During atrial flutter, this analysis has been so far limited by the perturbation of flutter waves superimposed over the T wave. This paper presents a method based on missing data interpolation for eliminating flutter waves from the ECG during atrial flutter. To cope with the correlation between atrial and ventricular electrical activations, the CLEAN deconvolution algorithm was applied to reconstruct the spectrum of the atrial component of the ECG from signal segments corresponding to TQ intervals. The locations of these TQ intervals, where the atrial contribution is presumably dominant, were identified iteratively. The algorithm yields the extracted atrial and ventricular contributions to the ECG. Standard T-wave morphology parameters (T-wave amplitude, T peak-T end duration, QT interval) were measured. This technique was validated using synthetic signals, compared to average beat subtraction in a patient with a pacemaker, and tested on pseudo-orthogonal ECGs from patients in atrial flutter. Results demonstrated improvements in accuracy and robustness of T-wave analysis as compared to current clinical practice.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper reports two attempts at estimating the magni-tude of atrial flutter amplitude modulation caused by atrial motion during heart contraction. The first approach con-sists in analyzing the ECG of a patient in flutter with atrio-ventricular block and an implanted pacemaker. These con-ditions facilitate QRST cancellation, even in the presence of time-varying flutter wave amplitude. The second ap-proach is based on a computer model of atrial flutter em-bedded in a torso model featuring predetermined motion of the atria. The results suggests that this lead-dependent effect is usually not large enough to preclude reasonably accurate QRST cancellation or T-wave extraction.