Researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the University of Adelaide in Australia are collaborating to learn about heart rhythm disorders in horses, including atrial fibrillation. The scientists are using 3D mapping to learn more about the disorder, which also occurs in humans.
Though exercise is healthy, too much exercise can cause scar tissue on the heart. Few animals exercise for long periods of time like humans–but the horse is an exception. Because of this, equine hearts can be used as models for human atrial fibrillation.
To study atrial fibrillation in horses, the research team performed physical fitness exams on four trotting horses; these exams included ultrasounds, ECGs and an exercise test on a treadmill. The scientists then threaded small wires into the left atrium of each horse's heart. These wires allow the scientists to see the heart's live, electrical impulses, as well as when the horse goes into atrial fibrillation. This will allow the scientists to begin mapping each horse's heart in 3D.
The findings from the collaborative study will be published within a year.
Read more at HorseTalk.
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