Philips to work with U.K. facilities on heart arrhythmia diagnostic tools

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Royal Philips Electronics yesterday announced a collaboration with King’s College London and University College London to develop advanced imaging systems for minimally invasive treatment of the heart. The consortium has been awarded substantial funding of nearly £500,000 (approx. $952,000 USD) for the research by the U.K. Government’s Department of Trade and Industry . The consortium will work on a project to develop measures to improve the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, a heart condition that affects 5.3 percent of the U.K. population.
   
Cardiac arrhythmia is defined as instances where the heartbeat is irregular or faster or slower than normal. Traditionally, the disease is treated by long-term drug therapy, which is both expensive and can produce undesirable side effects. However, there is an increasing trend towards restoring the heart’s natural rhythm by procedures performed using x-ray fluoroscopy. The research will seek to improve these procedures by reducing clinical procedure time, improving success rates and reducing the x-ray radiation dose to the patient, and to exposure of the staff treating them.
   
The Electrophysiology Platform for Image-Guided Arrhythmia Management (EPIGRAM) project has the objective of developing a real-time, integrated representation of the anatomical, functional and electrical information of heart activity. This will give clinicians a comprehensive view of the heart, facilitating more efficient and effective treatment while reducing side effects. The consortium hopes to develop a system that combines information from a range of imaging modalities, providing accurate 3D information that compensates for both cardiac and respiratory motion.