NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022
Project ID: S&T76
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia globally, affecting about 2.5% of the UK population. AF increases risk of heart failure, dementia and reduces quality-of-life. Moreover, AF patients are 5 times more likely to suffer from stroke, with 20% of AF-related strokes being fatal and another 60% leading to disability. Optimised AF treatment is therefore vital to reduce AF’s burden on the NHS and improve AF patients’ quality-of-life.
One approach for treating AF is catheter ablation. In this procedure, a catheter is positioned inside the heart to map the heart’s electrical activity, identify and ablate AF sources. Many algorithms for identifying these sources have been suggested1. These algorithms focus on detecting locations of highest heart rate or rotational cardiac activity. Success rates based on these algorithms remain at about 50%, hence the need to develop better AF source identification algorithms.
This project will develop new ways to identify AF sources based on technologies and algorithms currently used in (air) flow analysis2 and pressure fields derived from flow analysis (similar to those used in particle tracking velocimetry). It aims to:
- develop an optimised algorithm for cardiac electrical flow analysis.
- find the potential correlation between the source of AF and fluid mechanical parameters. For this, we use the data from the heart electrical flow to reconstruct the entire electrical flow evolution with time inside the heart. The reconstruction is based on solving the governing equations of fluid flow.
- assess physiological parameters (pressure, shear stress) in identifying AF sources and compare them with current algorithms.
- develop a Lagrangian particle tracking method to investigate how electrical activity at the core of the heart chamber correlates with near-wall activity.
The project will involve programming and testing these algorithms on electrocardiogram (ECG) data. In addition, you will be conducting ECG experiments with human participants: recording and analysing heart activity. The project would suit a student with a degree in physics, engineering, or computer sciences with a good background in mathematics. You should also be interested in learning about heart rhythm diseases and heart electrophysiology.
School strategic research priority
The project aligns with the strategic research priorities of the Imaging, Materials and Engineering Centre as it will develop a new and optimised medical technology for identifying targets for atrial fibrillation catheter ablation.
For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.
How to apply
For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.
Fees and funding
This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.
Guidance and support
Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.