Surgery to correct severe heart arrhythmias usually requires detailed maps of the cardiac activation wave prior to ablation. The pinpoint electrical mapping procedure is laborious and limited by its spatial resolution (5-10 mm). We propose ultrasound current source density imaging (UCSDI), a direct 3-D imaging technique that potentially facilitates existing mapping procedures with superior spatial resolution. The technique is based on a pressure-induced change in resistivity known as the acoustoelectric (AE) effect, which is spatially confined to the ultrasound focus. AE-modulated voltage recordings are used to map and reconstruct current densities. In this preliminary study, we tested UCSDI under controlled conditions and compared it with conventional electrical mapping techniques. A 2-D dipole field was produced by a pair of electrodes in a bath of 0.9% NaCl solution. Boundary electrodes detected the AE signal while a 7.5-MHz focused ultrasound transducer was scanned across the bath. UCSDI located the current source and sink to within 1 mm of their actual positions. A future UCSDI system potentially provides real-time 3-D images of the cardiac activation wave coregistered with anatomical ultrasound and would greatly facilitate corrective procedures for heart abnormalities.
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