16-Channel Flexible System to Measure Electrophysiological Properties of Bioengineered Hearts

Betsy H. Salazar, Kristopher A. Hoffman, Anilkumar K. Reddy, Sridhar Madala, Ravi K. Birla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As tissue engineering continues to mature, it is necessary to develop new technologies that bring insight into current paradigms and guide improvements for future experiments. To this end, we have developed a system to characterize our bioartificial heart model and compare them to functional native structures. In the present study, the hearts of adult Sprague–Dawley were decellularized resulting in a natural three-dimensional cardiac scaffold. Neonatal rat primary cardiac cells were then cultured within a complex 3D fibrin gel, forming a 3-dimensional cardiac construct, which was sutured to the acellular scaffold and suspended in media for 24–48 h. The resulting bioartificial hearts (BAHs) were then affixed with 16 electrodes, in different configurations to evaluate not only the electrocardiographic characteristics of the cultured tissues, but to also test the system’s consistency. Histological evaluation showed cellularization and cardiac tissue formation. The BAHs and native hearts were then evaluated with our 16-channel flexible system to acquire the metrics associated with their respective electrophysiological properties. Time delays between the native signals were in the range of 0–95 ms. As well, color maps revealed a trend in impulse propagation throughout the native hearts. After evaluation of the normal rat QRS complex we found the average amplitude of the R-wave to be 5351.48 ± 44.92 μV and the average QRS duration was found to be 10.61 ± 0.18 ms. In contrast, BAHs exhibited more erratic and non-uniform activity that garnered no appreciable quantification. The data collected in this study proves our system’s efficacy for EKG data procurement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-104
Number of pages11
JournalCardiovascular Engineering and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioengineered hearts
  • Cardiac constructs
  • Cell culture
  • Electrical impulse propagation maps
  • Heart
  • Heart electrophysiology
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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