Magnetocardiography on an isolated animal heart with a room-temperature optically pumped magnetometer

Authors: Kasper Jensen, Mark Alexander Skarsfeldt, Hans Stærkind, Jens Arnbak, Mikhail V. Balabas, Søren-Peter Olesen, Bo Hjorth Bentzen, Eugene S. Polzik


Optically pumped magnetometers are becoming a promising alternative to cryogenically-cooled superconducting magnetometers for detecting and imaging biomagnetic fields. Magnetic field detection is a completely non-invasive method, which allows one to study the function of excitable human organs with a sensor placed outside the human body. For instance, magnetometers can be used to detect brain activity or to study the activity of the heart. We have developed a highly sensitive miniature optically pumped magnetometer based on cesium atomic vapor kept in a paraffin-coated glass container. The magnetometer is optimized for detection of biological signals and has high temporal and spatial resolution. It is operated at room- or human body temperature and can be placed in contact with or at a mm-distance from a biological object. With this magnetometer, we detected the heartbeat of an isolated guinea-pig heart, which is an animal widely used in biomedical studies. In our recordings of the magnetocardiogram, we can detect the P-wave, QRS-complex and T-wave associated with the cardiac cycle in real time. We also demonstrate that our device is capable of measuring the cardiac electrographic intervals, such as the RR- and QT-interval, and detecting drug-induced prolongation of the QT-interval, which is important for medical diagnostics.

Source: Scientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1)