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Seminar – Reducing the Pain of Cardiac Electrical Therapies

October 2, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Since the discovery that electrical currents were important for cardiac function there has been
intense interest in the development of cardiac electrical therapies. The most common cardiac
electrical therapies today are pacing and defibrillation, which act to restore mechanical
function and blood flow by correcting pathological electrical dysrhythmias. Each year over
100,000 implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are implanted in the US alone, and
despite significant research, both ICDs and noninvasive pacing therapies are limited by the
common issue of pain. The pain of electrical therapies is a well-studied yet poorly-understood
limitation that has created underserved clinical populations. My work to reduce pain uses
biophysically detailed computational models, isolated muscle and heart preparations, and
large animal in vivo experiments. A novel method to quantify pain in animals was developed
based on extensive evidence suggesting that aberrant skeletal muscle contraction underlies
shock-induced pain. This measurement, the rate of force development (RoFD), was then
used to develop a novel waveform to reduce pain caused by defibrillation. I will discuss this
prior work, other studies to reduce the pain of external cardiac pacing, and ongoing work to
translate our findings to human clinical application.


Dr. Hunter is a 2010 graduate of the University of Maine’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. After
graduation he pursued his doctorate in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University where his research focused on
cardiac electrophysiology, specifically novel electrical therapies for cardiac arrhythmia. After he completed his Ph.D. he began
research on atrial ablation therapies in the Johns Hopkins Medicine Cardiology department. He is also a lecturer in the
department of biomedical engineering and a consultant for a startup company that was founded on his Ph.D. research.



October 2, 2017
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Categories:


Arthur St. John Hill Auditorium ESRB/Barrows Hall
Orono, ME, 04468 United States