Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2017

Author's Department

Biomedical Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Every year 300,000 Americans die due to sudden cardiac death. There are many pathologies, acquired and genetic, that can lead to sudden cardiac death. Regardless of the underlying pathology, death is frequently the result of ventricular tachycardia and/or fibrillation (VT/VF). Despite decades of research, the mechanisms of ventricular arrhythmia initiation and maintenance are still incompletely understood.

A contributing factor to this lack of understanding is the limitations of the investigative tools used to study VT/VF. Arrhythmias are organ level phenomena that are governed by cellular interactions and as such, near cellular levels of resolution are needed to tease out their intricacies. They are also behaviors that are not limited by region, but dynamically affect the entirety of the heart. For these reasons, high-resolution methodologies capable of measuring electrophysiology of the whole entirety of the ventricles will play an important role in gaining a complete understanding of the principles that govern ventricular arrhythmia dynamics. They will also be essential in the development of novel therapies for arrhythmia management.

In this dissertation, I first present the validation and characterization of a novel capacitive electrode design that overcomes the key limitations faced by modern implantable cardiac devices. I then outline the construction, methodologies, and open-source tools of an improved optical panoramic mapping system for small mammalian cardiac electrophysiology studies. I conclude with a small mammal study of the relationship between action potential duration restitution dynamics and the mechanisms of maintenance in ventricular arrhythmias.


English (en)


Igor R. Efimov

Committee Members

Yoram Rudy, Philip Bayly, Stacey Rentschler, Richard Schuessler,


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