Cardiac Surgical Arrhythmia Research Laboratory

Anson Lee Lab

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most prevalent arrhythmia among Americans, affecting 3-6 million people. AF represents a growing burden for our aging population and costs the United States $6 billion annually.

We are working to advance the mechanistic understanding of atrial fibrillation in order to develop potential therapies to treat it and other forms of arrhythmia. We believe that studying atrial fibrillation with basic science and clinical approaches will provide new insights into this disease and improve the lives of those who live with it.

Areas of Study

The Genetics of Atrial Fibrillation

Currently there is a limited understanding of the genetic basis for atrial fibrillation and whether it changes as an individual’s arrhythmia evolves over time. We are currently investigating the transcriptional changes that increase patients’ risk of developing post-operative atrial fibrillation, using state of the art Next Generation RNA Sequencing.

High-Spatiotemporal-Resolution Cardiac Mapping of Atrial Fibrillation

Since the electrocardiogram (ECG) was introduced more than a century ago, mapping of cardiac electrical activity has been central to understanding and treating arrhythmia. In the clinic, basket catheters are now providing more sophisticated imaging. In the laboratory, optical and direct contact mapping are becoming more routine.

We are developing a flexible membrane capable of sub-millisecond and sub-micrometer resolution to map cardiac electrical activity with unprecedented accuracy.

Human Clinical Study of Post-Operative Atrial Fibrillation

Post-operative atrial fibrillation affects up to half the patients who undergo cardiac surgery, increasing their risk of morbidity and even mortality. We are investigating whether intra-operative assessment and prophylactic treatment of patients at risk for developing post-operative atrial fibrillation may improve their outcomes after surgery.

Future Areas of Study Include

• biologic atrial pacemakers made of cardiomyocytes

• robotically controlled hybrid ablation

Lab Members

Anson Lee, MD

Assistant Professor

Bartlomiej Imielski, MD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

William Belshe

Undergraduate Researcher

Recent Publications

Maze permutations during minimally invasive mitral valve surgery.

Lee AM.

Ann Cardiothorac Surg. 2015 Sep;4(5):463-8. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2225-319X.2015.09.07.

Quantification of the functional consequences of atrial fibrillation and surgical ablation on the left atrium using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging.

Robertson JO, Lee AM, Voeller RK, Damiano MS, Schuessler RB, Damiano RJ.

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2014 Oct;46(4):720-8. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezt656.

Intrathoracic rosai-dorfman disease: hemorrhage with routine diagnostic procedure.

Imielski BR, Ramalingam VS, Rao RN, Majumdar T, Haasler GB.

Ann Thorac Surg. 2014 Oct;98(4):1459-61. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2013.10.113.

Importance of atrial surface area and refractory period in sustaining atrial fibrillation: testing the critical mass hypothesis.

Lee AM, Aziz A, Didesch J, Clark KL, Schuessler RB, Damiano RJ Jr.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2013 Sep;146(3):593-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2012.04.021.

Fontan fenestration closure and event-free survival.

Imielski BR, Woods RK, Mussatto KA, Cao Y, Simpson PM, Tweddell JS.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2013 Jan;145(1):183-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2012.09.006.