vMap Mapping Technology for Cardiac Arrhythmias: Interview with Mike Monko, CEO of Vektor Medical

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Vektor Medical, a medtech company based in San Diego, created the vMap system, a mapping solution for cardiac arrhythmias. The system is the first to identify arrhythmia sources anywhere in the heart, including the septal wall, outflow tracts, and all four chambers. The company reports that the technology takes less than three minutes to provide a result.

The system uses 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) data to pin-point the location of an arrythmia, and so is non-invasive. Accurate mapping of arrythmia sources is important in ensuring that subsequent treatment is successful. In the case of ablation for atrial fibrillation, the procedure is unsuccessful approximately half of the time, highlighting the need for more precise mapping of the arrythmia source.    

The vMap system provides a 3D map of the heart that highlights arrythmia sources both inside and outside the heart. As arrythmias appear to be more common in recovered COVID-19 patients, the inception of the technology is pertinent during the current pandemic.

Here’s a video from Vektor Medical about vMap:

Medgadget had the opportunity to speak with Mike Monko, CEO and co-founder of Vektor Medical, about the vMap system.    

Conn Hastings, Medgadget: Please give us an overview of cardiac arrhythmias and the risks that they pose for patients.

Mike Monko, Vektor Medical: An arrhythmia occurs when the heart beats too fast, too slow or erratically. When the heart doesn’t beat properly, it can’t pump blood effectively.

One in four Americans will develop an arrhythmia in their lifetime and they are becoming increasingly common in recovered COVID-19 patients.

Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia, is expected to grow to more than 12 million cases annually in the U.S. by 2030, and can result in stroke, heart failure, and even death. Arrhythmias are most commonly treated with an ablation procedure, which burns or freezes tissue in the heart to block the irregular beating.

Medgadget: How are cardiac arrhythmias identified at present, and how is this sub-optimal?

Mike Monko: Cardiac mapping is critical in understanding where an arrhythmia source is located and how much to ablate. However, first time AF ablation procedures are unsuccessful approximately 40%-60% of the time. This is largely due to the lack of information on arrhythmia source locations.

Traditional mapping systems are time-consuming, invasive and high in fluoro exposure. Additionally, since the catheter acts as the “eyes” for the technician during a traditional mapping procedure, visibility is limited based on the positioning of the catheter and lacks precision in mapping the heart. Newer mapping systems are less invasive than the traditional systems but they still impose limitations on where it’s possible to map and often require extra steps, such as a computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Medgadget: Please give us an overview of the vMap system and how it works.

Mike Monko: vMap is the first technology designed to identify potential arrhythmia sources anywhere in the heart – all four chambers, septal wall and outflow tracts – using the data from a standard 12-lead echocardiogram (ECG). It’s intended to quickly, easily, and non-invasively map arrhythmia sources associated with focal- or fibrillation-type arrhythmias in all four chambers of the heart, the septal wall, and the outflow tracts.

The easy-to-use system takes less than three minutes for a clinician to input case information, upload and markup an ECG, and receive a 3D, interactive arrhythmia source location map visualizing the inside and outside of the heart. Taking less time to find target locations with vMap shortens the procedure, which reduces the potential for complications from invasive mapping and long fluoro exposure. In fact, we’ve had users share that vMap could have saved them hours, as they would have known where to go first.

Medgadget: How did the technology come about? What inspired you to develop it?

Mike Monko: vMap was invented by physicians and engineers at University of California San Diego, including David Krummen, M.D., Christopher Villongco, Ph.D., Gordon Ho, M.D. and Andrew McCulloch, Ph.D., to address shortcomings in the current standard of care for heart rhythm disorders. These four visionaries and I co-founded Vektor Medical to develop and commercialize the technology. We share a vision to transform medicine and harness the power of non-invasive ECG data to improve cardiac ablation therapy. 

Medgadget: Is the technology easy to use for clinicians?

Mike Monko: Yes, it is. We specifically designed vMap to fit within an ??electrophysiologists existing workflow. It uses existing ECG data and is simple and fast to use. Our users consistently comment on how easy the system is to use.

Medgadget: What are the next steps for the technology? Where and when will it be available?

Mike Monko: We are currently focused on rolling out the technology at select cardiovascular centers of excellence across the country over the coming year before making it more widely available. Currently, vMap is available at UC San Diego Health. We also look forward to sharing the results of our clinical validation study evaluating the performance of vMap at the Heart Rhythm Society conference in San Francisco on April 29, 2022.

Link: Vektor Medical homepage…





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