Publications by authors named "Nicholas W F Linton"

8 Publications

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Reusable snorkel masks adapted as particulate respirators.

PLoS One 2021 5;16(4):e0249201. Epub 2021 Apr 5.

National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

Introduction: During viral pandemics, filtering facepiece (FFP) masks together with eye protection form the essential components of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. There remain concerns regarding insufficient global supply and imperfect protection offered by currently available PPE strategies. A range of full-face snorkel masks were adapted to accept high grade medical respiratory filters using bespoke-designed 3D-printed connectors. We compared the protection offered by the snorkel to that of standard PPE using a placebo-controlled respirator filtering test as well as a fluorescent droplet deposition experiment. Out of the 56 subjects tested, 42 (75%) passed filtering testing with the snorkel mask compared to 31 (55%) with a FFP3 respirator mask (p = 0.003). Amongst the 43 subjects who were not excluded following a placebo control, 85% passed filtering testing with the snorkel versus to 68% with a FFP3 mask (p = 0.008). Following front and lateral spray of fluorescence liquid particles, the snorkel mask also provided superior protection against droplet deposition within the subject's face, when compared to a standard PPE combination of FFP3 masks and eye protection (3.19x108 versus 6.81x108 fluorescence units, p<0.001). The 3D printable adaptors are available for free download online at https://www.ImperialHackspace.com/COVID-19-Snorkel-Respirator-Project/.

Conclusion: Full-face snorkel masks adapted as particulate respirators performed better than a standard PPE combination of FFP3 mask and eye protection against aerosol inhalation and droplet deposition. This adaptation is therefore a promising PPE solution for healthcare workers during highly contagious viral outbreaks.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249201PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8021169PMC
April 2021

The ectopy-triggering ganglionated plexuses in atrial fibrillation.

Auton Neurosci 2020 11 21;228:102699. Epub 2020 Jul 21.

Myocardial Function Section, NHLI, Imperial College London, UK; Department of Cardiology, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK; Imperial Centre for Cardiac Engineering, Imperial College London, London, UK. Electronic address:

Background: Epicardial ganglionated plexuses (GP) have an important role in the pathogenesis of atrial fibrillation (AF). The relationship between anatomical, histological and functional effects of GP is not well known. We previously described atrioventricular (AV) dissociating GP (AVD-GP) locations. In this study, we hypothesised that ectopy triggering GP (ET-GP) are upstream triggers of atrial ectopy/AF and have different anatomical distribution to AVD-GP.

Objectives: We mapped and characterised ET-GP to understand their neural mechanism in AF and anatomical distribution in the left atrium (LA).

Methods: 26 patients with paroxysmal AF were recruited. All were paced in the LA with an ablation catheter. High frequency stimulation (HFS) was synchronised to each paced stimulus for delivery within the local atrial refractory period. HFS responses were tagged onto CARTO™ 3D LA geometry. All geometries were transformed onto one reference LA shell. A probability distribution atlas of ET-GP was created. This identified high/low ET-GP probability regions.

Results: 2302 sites were tested with HFS, identifying 579 (25%) ET-GP. 464 ET-GP were characterised, where 74 (16%) triggered ≥30s AF/AT. Median 97 (IQR 55) sites were tested, identifying 19 (20%) ET-GP per patient. >30% of ET-GP were in the roof, mid-anterior wall, around all PV ostia except in the right inferior PV (RIPV) in the posterior wall.

Conclusion: ET-GP can be identified by endocardial stimulation and their anatomical distribution, in contrast to AVD-GP, would be more likely to be affected by wide antral circumferential ablation. This may contribute to AF ablation outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.autneu.2020.102699DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7511599PMC
November 2020

Anatomical Distribution of Ectopy-Triggering Plexuses in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2020 09 27;13(9):e008715. Epub 2020 Jul 27.

Myocardial Function Section, Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine (M.-Y.K., B.C.S., M.B.S., C.D.C., F.S.N., N.S.P., P.B.L., N.W.F.L., P.K.), Imperial College London, United Kingdom.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.120.008715DOI Listing
September 2020

Ventricular conduction stability test: a method to identify and quantify changes in whole heart activation patterns during physiological stress.

Europace 2019 Sep;21(9):1422-1431

National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK.

Aims: Abnormal rate adaptation of the action potential is proarrhythmic but is difficult to measure with current electro-anatomical mapping techniques. We developed a method to rapidly quantify spatial discordance in whole heart activation in response to rate cycle length changes. We test the hypothesis that patients with underlying channelopathies or history of aborted sudden cardiac death (SCD) have a reduced capacity to maintain uniform activation following exercise.

Methods And Results: Electrocardiographical imaging (ECGI) reconstructs >1200 electrograms (EGMs) over the ventricles from a single beat, providing epicardial whole heart activation maps. Thirty-one individuals [11 SCD survivors; 10 Brugada syndrome (BrS) without SCD; and 10 controls] with structurally normal hearts underwent ECGI vest recordings following exercise treadmill. For each patient, we calculated the relative change in EGM local activation times (LATs) between a baseline and post-exertion phase using custom written software. A ventricular conduction stability (V-CoS) score calculated to indicate the percentage of ventricle that showed no significant change in relative LAT (<10 ms). A lower score reflected greater conduction heterogeneity. Mean variability (standard deviation) of V-CoS score over 10 consecutive beats was small (0.9 ± 0.5%), with good inter-operator reproducibility of V-CoS scores. Sudden cardiac death survivors, compared to BrS and controls, had the lowest V-CoS scores post-exertion (P = 0.011) but were no different at baseline (P = 0.50).

Conclusion: We present a method to rapidly quantify changes in global activation which provides a measure of conduction heterogeneity and proof of concept by demonstrating SCD survivors have a reduced capacity to maintain uniform activation following exercise.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euz015DOI Listing
September 2019

Prevalence of spontaneous type I ECG pattern, syncope, and other risk markers in sudden cardiac arrest survivors with Brugada syndrome.

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 2019 02 6;42(2):257-264. Epub 2019 Jan 6.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK.

Introduction: A spontaneous type I electrocardiogram (ECG) pattern and/or unheralded syncope are conventionally used as risk markers for primary prevention of sudden cardiac arrest/death (SCA/SCD) in Brugada syndrome (BrS). In this study, we determine the prevalence of conventional and newer markers of risk in those with and without previous aborted SCA events.

Methods: All patients with BrS were identified at our institute. History of symptoms was obtained from medical tests or from interviews. Other markers of risk were also obtained, such as presence of (1) spontaneous type I pattern, (2) fractionated QRS (fQRS), (3) early repolarization (ER) pattern, (4) late potentials on signal-averaged ECG (SAECG), and (5) response to programmed electrical stimulation.

Results: In 133 patients with Bars, 10 (7%) patients (mean age = 39 ± 11 years; nine males) were identified with a previous ventricular fibrillation/ventricular tachycardia episode (n = 8) or requiring cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (n = 2). None of these patients had a prior history of syncope before their SCA event. Only two (20%) patients reported a history of palpitations or dizziness. None had apneic breathing and three (30%) patients had a family history of SCA. From their ECGs, a spontaneous pattern was only found in one (10%) of these patients. Further, 10% of patients had fQRS, 17% had late potentials on SAECG, 20% had deep S waves in lead I, and 10% had an ER pattern in the peripheral leads. No significant differences were observed in the non-SCA group.

Conclusion: The majority of BrS patients with previous aborted SCA events did not have a spontaneous type I and/or prior history of syncope. Conventional and newer markers of risk appear to only have limited ability to predict SCA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pace.13587DOI Listing
February 2019

Comparison of the Prognostic Usefulness of the European Society of Cardiology and American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation Risk Stratification Systems for Patients With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

Am J Cardiol 2018 02 7;121(3):349-355. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Implantable cardiodefibrillators (ICDs) have proven benefit in preventing sudden cardiac death (SCD) in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HC), making risk stratification essential. Data on the predictive accuracy on the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) risk scoring system have been conflicting. We independently evaluated the ESC risk scoring system in our cohort of patients with HC from a large tertiary center and compared this with previous guidance by the American College of Cardiology Foundation and Heart Association (ACCF/AHA). Risk factor profiles, 5-year SCD risk estimates, and ICD recommendations, as defined by the ACCF/AHA and ESC guidelines, were retrospectively ascertained for 288 HC patients with and without SCD or equivalent events at our center. In the SCD group (n = 14), a significantly higher proportion of patients would not have met the criteria for an ICD implant using the ESC scoring algorithm compared with ACCF/AHA guidance (43% vs 7%, p = 0.029). In those without SCD events (n = 274), a larger proportion of individuals not requiring an ICD was identified using the ESC risk score model compared with the ACCF/AHA model (82% vs 57%; p < 0.0001). Based on risk stratification criteria alone, 5 more individuals with a previously aborted SCD event would not have received an ICD with the ESC risk model compared with the ACCF/AHA risk model. In conclusion, we found that the current ESC scoring system potentially leaves more high-risk patients unprotected from sudden death in our cohort of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2017.10.027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5812921PMC
February 2018

Repolarization abnormalities unmasked with exercise in sudden cardiac death survivors with structurally normal hearts.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2018 01 7;29(1):115-126. Epub 2017 Dec 7.

National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK.

Background: Models of cardiac arrhythmogenesis predict that nonuniformity in repolarization and/or depolarization promotes ventricular fibrillation and is modulated by autonomic tone, but this is difficult to evaluate in patients. We hypothesize that such spatial heterogeneities would be detected by noninvasive ECG imaging (ECGi) in sudden cardiac death (SCD) survivors with structurally normal hearts under physiological stress.

Methods: ECGi was applied to 11 SCD survivors, 10 low-risk Brugada syndrome patients (BrS), and 10 controls undergoing exercise treadmill testing. ECGi provides whole heart activation maps and >1,200 unipolar electrograms over the ventricular surface from which global dispersion of activation recovery interval (ARI) and regional delay in conduction were determined. These were used as surrogates for spatial heterogeneities in repolarization and depolarization. Surface ECG markers of dispersion (QT and Tpeak-end intervals) were also calculated for all patients for comparison.

Results: Following exertion, the SCD group demonstrated the largest increase in ARI dispersion compared to BrS and control groups (13 ± 8 ms vs. 4 ± 7 ms vs. 4 ± 5 ms; P = 0.009), with baseline dispersion being similar in all groups. In comparison, surface ECG markers of dispersion of repolarization were unable to discriminate between the groups at baseline or following exertion. Spatial heterogeneities in conduction were also present following exercise but were not significantly different between SCD survivors and the other groups.

Conclusion: Increased dispersion of repolarization is apparent during physiological stress in SCD survivors and is detectable with ECGi but not with standard ECG parameters. The electrophysiological substrate revealed by ECGi could be the basis of alternative risk-stratification techniques.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.13375DOI Listing
January 2018

ST-Elevation Magnitude Correlates With Right Ventricular Outflow Tract Conduction Delay in Type I Brugada ECG.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2017 Oct;10(10)

From the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, United Kingdom (K.M.W.L., F.S.N., C.R., N.W.F.L., Z.I.W., P.B.L., S.E.H., N.S.P., P.K.); Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom (K.M.W.L., F.S.N., P.T., N.W.F.L., Z.I.W., D.C.L., D.W.D., P.B.L., N.S.P., P.K., A.M.V.); and Medtronic Ltd, Watford, United Kingdom (C.Y.).

Background: The substrate location and underlying electrophysiological mechanisms that contribute to the characteristic ECG pattern of Brugada syndrome (BrS) are still debated. Using noninvasive electrocardiographical imaging, we studied whole heart conduction and repolarization patterns during ajmaline challenge in BrS individuals.

Methods And Results: A total of 13 participants (mean age, 44±12 years; 8 men), 11 concealed patients with type I BrS and 2 healthy controls, underwent an ajmaline infusion with electrocardiographical imaging and ECG recordings. Electrocardiographical imaging activation recovery intervals and activation timings across the right ventricle (RV) body, outflow tract (RVOT), and left ventricle were calculated and analyzed at baseline and when type I BrS pattern manifested after ajmaline infusion. Peak J-ST point elevation was calculated from the surface ECG and compared with the electrocardiographical imaging-derived parameters at the same time point. After ajmaline infusion, the RVOT had the greatest increase in conduction delay (5.4±2.8 versus 2.0±2.8 versus 1.1±1.6 ms; =0.007) and activation recovery intervals prolongation (69±32 versus 39±29 versus 21±12 ms; =0.0005) compared with RV or left ventricle. In controls, there was minimal change in J-ST point elevation, conduction delay, or activation recovery intervals at all sites with ajmaline. In patients with BrS, conduction delay in RVOT, but not RV or left ventricle, correlated to the degree of J-ST point elevation (Pearson , 0.81; <0.001). No correlation was found between J-ST point elevation and activation recovery intervals prolongation in the RVOT, RV, or left ventricle.

Conclusions: Magnitude of ST (J point) elevation in the type I BrS pattern is attributed to degree of conduction delay in the RVOT and not prolongation in repolarization time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.117.005107DOI Listing
October 2017