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Areas of Expertise

Liryc – the Electrophysiology and Heart Modelling Institute (L’Institut de RYthmologie et modélisation Cardiaque) - is a University-Hospital Institute (IHU) led by Professor Michel Haïssaguerre.

It is a unique centre in the world which aims to understand and treat heart rhythm disorders better.

By bringing national and international expertise from many disciplines together in a single institute, Liryc is primarily dedicated to 3 areas in cardiac electrophysiology : 

  • atrial fibrillation,
  • ventricular fibrillation,
  • heart failure.
Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, the most common rhythm disorder, affects more than 10 million people in Europe, with a projected increase from 14 to 17 million by 2030.

It is characterised by irregular and rapid heartbeats. It has a very debilitating effect on the quality of life of those affected. It is primarily responsible for strokes and is a risk factor for heart failure and dementia.

Understanding atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is manifested by uncontrolled and ineffective contraction of the atrium which promotes the formation of blood clots. It has the effect of accelerating the heart and making it beat irregularly.

Treating atrial fibrillation

Several years ago, Liryc's clinicians identified the sources of atrial fibrillation in the pulmonary veins. This discovery helped to develop a curative treatment for this disorder.

This treatment consists of cauterising the pulmonary veins with a catheter to isolate these sources of arrhythmia. This has become the standard treatment: to date, more than 300,000 patients undergo it each year worldwide.

Ventricular fibrillation

Ventricular fibrillation is responsible for 50,000 sudden deaths in France each year, or one death every 10 minutes. It is very often equated with natural death, as it mainly strikes people with intact or slightly damaged hearts, conferring an ‘incorrect’ nature on these deaths.

Understanding ventricular fibrillation

Ventricular fibrillation is manifested by completely disorganised electrical activity in the ventricles, with the immediate effect of the loss of any effective cardiac contraction. A lack of intervention within 5 minutes can be fatal (sudden death) or lead to irreversible brain damage.

The only treatment is electric shock delivered by a defibrillator.

Treating ventricular fibrillation

Liryc’s clinicians have highlighted some sources of sudden death due to ventricular fibrillation.

These sources are located in the heart in the Purkinje network. This electrical network of the heart is essential for cardiac contraction.

The destruction of these sources of arrhythmia by thermoablation (a technique developed at Liryc) represents an innovative and curative approach to ventricular fibrillation to prevent sudden death. 

Heart failure

Heart failure affects 9 million people in Europe, including 1 million in France, or 1 in 10 hospital admissions. It mainly affects people aged 65 years or over, but can also affect children and pregnant women.

It has a significant impact on long-term quality of life.

Understanding heart failure

Heart failure is a failure of the heart’s pumping action which then becomes unable to adequately provide the oxygen and nutrients (blood flow) required for the proper functioning of the organs. It is manifested by a shortness of breath and extreme tiredness among other things.

This condition stems from damage to the heart muscle or to its perfusion by the coronary arteries, impaired energy metabolism or cardiac desynchronization. A desynchronized heart is a heart which has lost harmony in propagating electrical impulses and hence the resulting contraction. So, one wall may contract while another rests with consequently significant loss in efficiency.

Treating heart failure

Liryc’s clinicians have helped to develop cardiac resynchronization therapy in heart failure. This therapy involves implanting pacing leads in the ventricles. It aims to specifically correct electrical dyssynchrony in order to harmonise ventricular contraction and ensure better cardiac output.