The heart is an electromechanical pump: for the myocardial cells to contract, they need to be electrically activated. In the healthy heart, natural pacemakers in the sino-atrial node generate propagating action potentials producing a depolarization wave that eventually covers the whole myocardium. Because the conduction properties of the diseased heart are different from normal tissue, the timings and patterns of this wave can be use to localize and characterize diseased regions. However, as of today, there is no non-invasive method available clinically to track this wave.
Electromechanical Wave Imaging (EWI) is an ultrasound-based imaging method that can map the electromechanical activity in all four heart chambers at very high spatial and temporal resolution, non-invasively and with real-time feedback. At the tissue level, the depolarization of myocardial regions triggers the electromechanical activation, i.e., the first time, at which the muscle transitions from a relaxation to a contraction state. Spatially, this electromechanical activation forms the EW front that follows the propagation pattern of the electrical activation sequence.
EWI could be used to assist in the diagnosis and treatment planning, monitoring and follow-up of patients with arrhythmias or undergoing pacing therapies in a non-invasive, low-cost, and real-time manner.