Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a heart rhythm disorder that affects up to 2% of the population and is associated with stroke, heart failure and death. The disease is caused by a disturbance in the electrical activity within the heart. Over the past 18 years treatment for AF has expanded dramatically, following crucial observations about the areas in one of the upper chambers of the heart (the left atrium) where the heat rhythm disturbance begins. While the origin of AF is now much better understood, the processes by which the abnormal rhythm continues remains less well understood. This has limited the development of more successful treatments for AF and at present, those patients with the ‘persistent' form of the condition have a significantly lower success rate when they are treated than those with the earlier, stop-start from of the condition (paroxysmal AF). The aim of this study is to take electrical measurements from within the chambers of the heart affected in this, and related, heart rhythm disorders in order to better understand the processes that allow them to persist. In the future it is hoped that this will result in more effective treatment for these conditions.
Who can participate?
Adults who are undergoing surgery to treat a heart rhythm disorder (such as AF) as part of their normal care.
What does the study involve?
After enrolment in the study, all participants undergo an RFA procedure as part of their standard care. This is a commonly used treatment for AF, which involves a thin flexible tube (catheter) being inserted through a major artery and guided up to the heart, where it burns the damaged area of the heart away using radiation. At the time of the RFA procedure a series of additional electrical measurements (extending the procedure by no more than 30 minutes) are taken. At the end of their RFA procedure the participants involvement with the study is complete.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
There are no direct benefits or risks involved with participating, although it is hoped that the knowledge gained from taking these measurements will be directly relevant to patients with heart rhythm disorders in the future.
Where is the study run from?
St Thomas' Hospital (UK)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
October 2015 to October 2019
Who is funding the study?
British Heart Foundation (UK)
Who is the main contact?
Dr John Whitaker
Programmed cardiac stimulation to measure electrophysiological function
The aim of this study is to develop and refine protocols for the invasive assessment of cardiac electrophysiological properties.
South East Coast - Surrey Research Ethics Committee, 30/11/2015, ref: 15/LO/1889
Observational cross sectional study
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Cross sectional study
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format,please use contact details to request participant information sheet
Heart rhythm disorders
At the time of clinically indicated electrophysiology study a series of additional electrical measurements will be made using clinically approved equipment and restricted to the cardiac chambers to which access is required for the clinical procedure.
Primary outcome measure
Cardiac conductivity and refractoriness will be assessed using analysis of recorded electrograms recorded at the time of the clinically indicated electrophysiology study.
Secondary outcome measures
No secondary outcome measures
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Between the ages of 18 and 85
2. Capable of giving informed, written consent in English
3. Undergoing a clinically indicated electrophysiology study or atrial fibrillation ablation procedure
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Patient is not able or willing to provide written, informed consent in English
2. Patient does not meet all of the inclusion criteria
3. Patient is enrolled in another clinical trial that involves an extension of the duration of the EP study or AF ablation procedure
4. Patient is a female and of childbearing potential
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
St Thomas' Hospital
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust Westminster Bridge Road
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
Research & Development Department
Great Maze pond
King's College London
Director of Research Management
Director of Administration (Health Schools)
Room 1.8 Hodgkin Building
King's College London
British Heart Foundation
Funding Body Type
private sector organisation
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Planned publication of study results in a high impact peer reviewed journal when he data collection and analysis are complete.
IPD Sharing plan:
The current data sharing plans for the current study are unknown and will be made available at a later date.
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
To be made available at a later date
Basic results (scientific)