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In this project we address heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias), caused by abnormalities in the electrical signal conduction and activation of the heart. Especially atrial fibrillation is a growing problem, as it can lead to fatal events or chronic heart failure. Electrophysiology (EP) interventions such as ablation can treat a range of arrhythmias, and are rapidly growing in clinical importance. However, they are time-consuming, expensive and have suboptimal success rates, mainly due to the lack of proper visual feedback for the physician: current techniques are unable to directly visualize the position of the ablation catheter with respect to the complex 3D shape of the atrial wall. We propose to use advanced 3D ultrasound (US) image processing in combination with novel ultrasound probes to realize an innovative 3D imaging system for EP intervention monitoring.

We aim at:

1) rapid 3D US image acquisition by fast rotation of a transnasal transesophageal echocardiography, ?TEE, probe (Oldelft Ultrasound BV, Delft, the Netherlands);
2) coverage of the whole left atrium (LA) by fusion of multiple 3DUS sets;
3) accurate and detailed segmentation of LA and other cavities in 3DUS;
4) registration of pre- and intraoperative 3DUS sets on the electroanatomical map (EAM) and preoperative CT, MR or 3DUS sets;
5) registering the current 2D US plane to the 3DUS data, detection and tracking of the catheter; 
6) integrating the US-derived images and anatomical surfaces into the EAM-based catheter navigation system.