Rachel ter Bekke

Post doc

After having obtained my medical degree at the university of Antwerp, I completed my Cardiology specialization in the Maastricht University Medical Center. Thereafter, I performed a clinical fellowship in Electrophysiology and Cardiogenetics to obtain level 2 of invasive electrophysiology and cardiac pacing endorsed by the EHRA. I have always been fascinated by ventricular tachyarrhythmias, especially in the genetically-susceptible heart. In 2018, I successfully defended my PhD thesis entitled: “Ventricular Arrhythmogenesis in the Genetically-Susceptible Heart: Time to Change Concepts of Mechanisms and Management” under guidance of prof. dr. Paul Volders. I demonstrated that the combined assessment of electrical and mechanical abnormalities (alias the electromechanical window) in patients with the long-QT syndrome provide superior sudden cardiac death risk stratification than the traditionally used QTc. I further investigated electromechanical trigger-substrate interactions prior to sympathetically-induced arrhythmias in a canine drug-induced long-QT syndrome model (and was awarded the EWGCCE Travel Award). Furthermore, with the investigation of complex genotype/phenotype relations in a 16-generation SCN5A-mutation founder population with sudden cardiac death I was a finalist at the Young Investigator Awards of the HRS. My expertise lies in cardiac cellular & clinical electrophysiology, inherited arrhythmia syndromes, and antiarrhythmic management including invasive ablation techniques of complex ventricular arrhythmias.

My research ambition is to bring the field of complex arrhythmia management forward. To this aim, I strongly believe multimodality imaging using ECG-imaging, 3D-MRI and invasive electroanatomical assessment is key, next to deep pheno- and genotyping and high-resolution (non)invasive electromechanical profiling. To further our understanding the role mechano-electric feedback plays in ventricular arrhythmogenesis I will pioneer in novel invasive and noninvasive methods to depict electromechanical behavior with high spatiotemporal resolution at rest and after smart provocation; both in drug-induced animal models and in patients with the long-QT syndrome. For this research proposal I was awarded the prestigious Veni grant by ZonMw in 2019. This innovative work is expected to have major impact for other mechanosensitive cardiac diseases.

Department of Cardiology
Address: P. Debyelaan 25, 6229 HX Maastricht
Room number: 3.B2.025
T: +31 (0)43 387 70 95

  • 2023
    • Cluitmans, M. J. M., Bayer, J., Bear, L. R., Ter Bekke, R. M. A., Heijman, J., Coronel, R., & Volders, P. G. A. (2023). The circle of reentry: Characteristics of trigger-substrate interaction leading to sudden cardiac arrest. Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine, 10, [1121517]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2023.1121517
    • Stoks, J., Hermans, B. M., Boukens, B. J. D., Holtackers, R. J., Gommers, S., Kaya, Y. S., Vernooy, K., Cluitmans, M. J. M., Volders, P. G. A., & ter Bekke, R. M. A. (2023). High-resolution structural-functional substrate-trigger characterization: Future roadmap for catheter ablation of ventricular tachycardia. Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine, 10, [1112980]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2023.1112980
  • 2022
    • Odening, K. E., van der Linde, H. J., Ackerman, M. J., Volders, P. G. A., & Ter Bekke, R. M. A. (2022). Electromechanical reciprocity and arrhythmogenesis in long-QT syndrome and beyond. European Heart Journal, 43(32), 3018-3028. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehac135
    • Verhaert, D. V. M., Linz, D., Chaldoupi, S. M., Westra, S. W., den Uijl, D. W., Philippens, S., Kerperien, M., Habibi, Z., Vorstermans, B., ter Bekke, R. M. A., Beukema, R. J., Evertz, R., Hemels, M. E. W., Luermans, J. G. L. M., Manusama, R., Lankveld, T. A. R., van der Heijden, C. A. J., Bidar, E., Hermans, B. M., ... Schotten, U. (2022). Rationale and Design of the ISOLATION Study: A Multicenter Prospective Cohort Study Identifying Predictors for Successful Atrial Fibrillation Ablation in an Integrated Clinical Care and Research Pathway. Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine, 9, [879139]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2022.879139
    • Henkens, M. T. H. M., Raafs, A. G., Verdonschot, J. A. J., Linschoten, M., van Smeden, M., Wang, P., van der Hooft, B. H. M., Tieleman, R., Janssen, M. L. F., Ter Bekke, R. M. A., Hazebroek, M. R., van der Horst, I. C. C., Asselbergs, F. W., Magdelijns, F. J. H., Heymans, S. R. B., & CAPACITY-COVID collaborative consortium (2022). Age is the main determinant of COVID-19 related in-hospital mortality with minimal impact of pre-existing comorbidities, a retrospective cohort study. BMC Geriatrics, 22(1), [184]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-021-02673-1
    • Cluitmans, M., Coll-Font, J., Erem, B., Bear, L., Nguyên, U. C., Ter Bekke, R., Volders, P. G. A., & Brooks, D. (2022). Spatiotemporal approximation of cardiac activation and recovery isochrones. Journal of Electrocardiology, 71, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2021.12.007
  • 2021
    • Cluitmans, M. J. M., Bear, L. R., Nguyên, U. C., van Rees, B., Stoks, J., Ter Bekke, R. M. A., Mihl, C., Heijman, J., Lau, K. D., Vigmond, E., Bayer, J., Belterman, C. N. W., Abell, E., Labrousse, L., Rogier, J., Bernus, O., Haïssaguerre, M., Hassink, R. J., Dubois, R., ... Volders, P. G. A. (2021). Noninvasive detection of spatiotemporal activation-repolarization interactions that prime idiopathic ventricular fibrillation. Science Translational Medicine, 13(620), [eabi9317]. https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.abi9317
    • Van Rees, B., Stoks, J., Nguyen, Y. C., Ter Bekke, R. M. A., Mihl, C., Cluitmans, M., & Volders, P. G. A. (2021). Local areas of earlier repolarization cause epicardial repolarization heterogeneity in patients with apparently idiopathic ventricular fibrillation. European Heart Journal, 42, 326-326.
    • Pluymaekers, N. A. H. A., Dudink, E. A. M. P., Weijs, B., Vernooy, K., Hartgerink, D. E. J., Jacobs, J. S., Erkuner, O., Marcks, N. G. H. M., van Cauteren, Y. J. M., Dinh, T., ter Bekke, R. M. A., Sels, J. E. M. W., Delnoij, T. S. R., Geyik, Z., Driessen, R. G. H., Linz, D. K., den Uijl, D. W., Crijns, H. J. G. M., & Luermans, J. G. L. M. (2021). Clinical determinants of early spontaneous conversion to sinus rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation. Netherlands Heart Journal, 29(5), 255-261. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12471-020-01528-5
    • Holtackers, R. J., Gommers, S., Van De Heyning, C. M., Mihl, C., Smink, J., Higgins, D. M., Wildberger, J. E., & ter Bekke, R. M. A. (2021). Steadily Increasing Inversion Time Improves Blood Suppression for Free-Breathing 3D Late Gadolinium Enhancement MRI With Optimized Dark-Blood Contrast. Investigative Radiology, 56(5), 335-340. https://doi.org/10.1097/RLI.0000000000000747