2018 Stories

Unraveling the Origins Ventricular Arrhythmias

“We are unraveling the origins of ventricular arrhythmias and exploring the possibility of restoring electrical activity in chronic heart failure cases by using stem cell transplantation.”

–Jie (Jay) Cheng, MD, Texas Heart Institute’s Cardiac Electrophysiology Research Lab

In 2018, under the direction of Jie Cheng, MD, PhD, the Cardiac Electrophysiology Basic Research Lab focused its efforts on improving the way physicians detect heart rhythm abnormalities to guide treatment options for patients with life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.

The implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is the most effective treatment for rescuing patients suffering a ventricular arrhythmia. The ICD delivers an electrical shock to restore normal heart rhythm. Unfortunately, ICD shocks do not prevent arrhythmias from recurring.

The team is testing new methods to locate the exact origin of fatal ventricular arrhythmias that cause sudden cardiac death. Thus, doctors using an ICD to deliver shocks can avoid shocking areas unnecessarily.

The data will be used to develop methods and tools to guide minimally invasive ablation procedures commonly used to reduce arrhythmia recurrence.

In 2018, the team successfully completed the first testing of this procedure, and they are analyzing the data with plans to conduct the next phase of tests in 2019.

The team is also exploring the use of stem cell transplantation to restore electrical activity in patients with chronic heart failure.

Director Spotlight

Jie (Jay) Cheng, MD, PhD, is a board-certified electrophysiol- ogist and cardiologist, specializing in cardiovascular disease and cardiac electrophysiology. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals around the world. Dr. Cheng earned his medical degree from Shanghai Medical University in Shanghai City, Shanghai, China. He received residency training in internal medicine and received a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Cheng’s fellow- ship in cardiology was completed at the University of Chicago in Illinois and fellowship in electrophysiology was completed at the University of California in San Francisco.