Mechanisms of triggers and substrate of ventricular tachycardia in the myocardial infarction border zone
Sudden death because of abnormal electrical activity of the heart is an important complication in patients who suffered a heart attack. The clogging of the blood vessel during an attack will leave a part of the heart damaged. The scar that replaces the lost heart tissue cannot maintain the normal heartbeat and the other cells in the heart will grow and adapt to maintain the heartbeat. Between this living tissue and the scar is a border zone. There is good reason to think that the cells in this border zone have a unique ‘bad’ adaptation and are responsible for the disturbances in the heart rhythm that cause cardiac arrest and death. We will study what is special in these border zone cells and test substances that could ‘normalize’ their function and prevent abnormal electrical activity. We use an animal model that closely mimics the human condition and will further investigate the relevance of our studies in tissue samples from human heart. We finally will assess whether we can implement insights from our work to reduce the risk for sudden death in patients after a heart attack with better early warning signs.