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Human Biology '23

Ornella Pelissero

Improving Spatiotemporal Mapping of the Epicardial Surface: A Study in the Development of a New Surgical Device

Mentored by: Anson Lee (Cardiothoracic Surgery)
21-22 Major Grant recipient

In this thesis, Ornella studies the development of a surgical device designed to seamlessly incorporate signal processing and epicardial mapping to improve the current treatment of ventricular arrhythmias. Her honors thesis project seeks to develop and test the resolution of a new device allowing for high spatiotemporal epicardial mapping during minimally invasive procedures such as hybrid surgical-catheter ablation of ventricular tachycardia. Hybrid surgical-catheter ablation using VATS ports is currently performed to treat persistent atrial fibrillation at Stanford and the development of this device could expand the reach of this technique to treat ventricular tachycardia.

Successfully developing this device will significantly advance the field as there is currently no test allowing for minimally invasive epicardial mapping of the heart using Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) ports from the ablation procedure itself. This would allow for a minimally invasive map of the epicardium during surgery which would lead to better operative results, reducing the “learning while burning” approach, as well as fewer recurrences of arrhythmia and post-operative complications.