A Century of Optocardiography

IEEE Rev Biomed Eng. 2014;7:115-25. doi: 10.1109/RBME.2013.2286296. Epub 2013 Oct 23.


In the past decade, optical mapping provided crucial mechanistic insight into electromechanical function and the mechanism of ventricular fibrillation. Therefore, to date, optical mapping dominates experimental cardiac electrophysiology. The first cardiac measurements involving optics were done in the early 1900s using the fast cinematograph that later evolved into methods for high-resolution activation and repolarization mapping and stimulation of specific cardiac cell types. The field of "optocardiography," therefore, emerged as the use of light for recording or interfering with cardiac physiology. In this review, we discuss how optocardiography developed into the dominant research technique in experimental cardiology. Furthermore, we envision how optocardiographic methods can be used in clinical cardiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anura
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Heart* / anatomy & histology
  • Heart* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Optical Imaging*
  • Optogenetics*
  • Voltage-Sensitive Dye Imaging*