Generation of a cohort of whole-torso cardiac models for assessing the utility of a novel computed shock vector efficiency metric for ICD optimisation

Comput Biol Med. 2019 Sep:112:103368. doi: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2019.103368. Epub 2019 Jul 24.


Implanted cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) seek to automatically detect and terminate potentially lethal ventricular arrhythmias by applying strong internal electric shocks across the heart. However, the optimisation of the specific electrode design and configurations represents an intensive area of research in the pursuit of reduced shock strengths and fewer device complications and risks. Computational whole-torso simulations play an important role in this endeavour, although knowing which specific metric should be used to assess configuration efficacy and assessing the impact of different patient anatomies and pathologies, and the corresponding effect this may have on different metrics has not been investigated. We constructed a cohort of CT-derived high-resolution whole torso-cardiac computational models, including variants of cardiomyopathies and patients with differing torso dimensions. Simulations of electric shock application between electrode configurations corresponding to transveneous (TV-ICD) and subcutaneous (S-ICD) ICDs were modelled and conventional metrics such as defibrillation threshold (DFT) and impedance computed. In addition, we computed a novel metric termed the shock vector efficiency (η), which quantifies the fraction of electrical energy dissipated in the heart relative to the rest of the torso. Across the cohort, S-ICD configurations showed higher DFTs and impedances than TV-ICDs, as expected, although little consistent difference was seen between healthy and cardiomyopathy variants. η was consistently <2% for S-ICD configurations, becoming as high as 13% for TV-ICD setups. Simulations also suggested that a total torso height of approximately 20 cm is required for convergence in η. Overall, η was seen to be approximately negatively correlated with both DFT and impedance. However, important scenarios were identified in which certain values of DFT (or impedance) were associated with a range of η values, and vice-versa, highlighting the heterogeneity introduced by the different torsos and pathologies modelled. In conclusion, the shock vector efficiency represents a useful additional metric to be considered alongside DFT and impedance in the optimisation of ICD electrode configurations, particularly in the context of differing torso anatomies and cardiac pathologies, which can induce significant heterogeneity in conventional metrics of ICD efficacy.

Keywords: CT imaging; Cardiac arrhythmias; Cardiac electrophysiogy; Cardiac modelling; Defibrillation; Implanted cardioverter defibrillators.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac* / diagnostic imaging
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac* / physiopathology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac* / therapy
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Defibrillators, Implantable*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*