LETI: Software Developed by LETI Scientists Will Help Doctors Practice Heart Transplantation

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Today, to perform complex surgical procedures on the heart and associated circulatory pathways, medical professionals need a working model on which they can practice various techniques. Because of the high trauma and health risks, many of the experiments aimed at developing new methods of cardiovascular treatment are carried out only on animals (e.g., rats).

Cardiovascular research using these types of models requires precise research tools. To study cardiac activity, doctors use computer processing methods to record signals over a long time. Compared to conventional electrocardiography (ECG), it allows for recording a huge number of signals from processes occurring in the human heart.

“Today, the widely used equipment for long-term signal registration has been developed for the parameters of the human cardiovascular system. Unfortunately, it is not suitable for studying similar systems in animals, with which the physicians of the Almazov National Medical Research Centre work. Therefore, the doctors asked us to adapt the methods for using the signals for rats,” says Alexander Kalinichenko, one of the authors of the study, professor of the Department of Bioengineering Systems at LETI.

To estimate the time and frequency parameters, LETI scientists developed software on the Matlab platform. The program performs calculations according to standard methods for human studies, but with adjustments for the rat organism: for example, the heart rate of rats is about five times higher than that of humans.

The device is capable of recording parameters in two channels with a frequency of 2000 Hz. This makes it possible to collect a large amount of information about the cardiovascular system’s operation. A database of rat signals recorded at the Almazov National Medical Research Centre was used to develop the software.

“In this study, our program allowed us to analyze the response of the rat body to a variety of serious cardiovascular injuries, including heart transplantation. However, in the future, this development can be used for other purposes. For example, we will be able to accurately measure rodent performance in preclinical trials of pharmaceuticals, how they affect the circulatory system.”

Alexander Kalinichenko, one of the authors of the study, professor of the Department of Bioengineering Systems at LETI
The results of the research were published in the IEEE Access journal. Scientists from LETI, the Almazov National Medical Research Centre, and the Institute of Automatics and Control Processes of the Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences took part in the study.

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