June 18th, 2018
A collaborative research team is on a quest to collapse a tiny pocket between cardiac cells that can cause big problems. Called the perinexus, the structure spans only tenths of a millimeter — all the space it needs to disrupt a person’s heartbeat.
The researchers were the first to identify the perinexus in humans. They recently published their results in Frontiers in Physiology.
The research team was led by Steven Poelzing, an associate professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, and Soufian AlMahameed, who was a clinician associate professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and the director of Carilion Clinic’s Center for Atrial Fibrillation at the time of data collection. Currently, AlMahameed is the director of clinical electrophysiology research at Case Western Reserve MetroHealth campus in Cleveland, Ohio.
Together, Poelzing and AlMahameed designed an experiment in which they collected tissue from patients undergoing cardiac surgery and used high-resolution microscopy to examine the cells, as well as the space between them.