On Wednesday 16 September 2020, the North Eastern Local group hosted a virtual meeting, via Zoom, on 'Uncertainty quantification for heart surgeons'. The speaker was Professor Richard Wilkinson from the University of Nottingham, and the talk was well attended, with 45 people Zooming in. It was preceded by the AGM of the local group, which passed without incident.
Richard’s excellent talk gave the audience a whistle-stop tour of an extensive body of work that he is involved in to model Atrial fibrillation, a type of cardiac arrhythmia that affects about one million people in the UK, and to predict which patients with the condition will go on to suffer atrial tachycardia, which may then require further surgery. The approach Richard took was based on the idea of personalised medicine, in a sense creating a 'digital twin' for a patient, to allow for individualised predictions.
The modelling is complex, with the heart being a tricky shape on which to use standard approaches such as Gaussian processes. Richard walked the audience through a way to overcome these difficulties, combining prior information from clinicians, physics-based simulation models and individual patient data.
The talk was followed by a question and answer session.