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
    • Verheul, L. M., van der Ree, M. H., Groeneveld, S. A., Mulder, B. A., Christiaans, I., Kapel, G. F. L., Alings, M., Bootsma, M., Barge-Schaapveld, D. Q. C. M., Balt, J. C., Yap, S-C., Krapels, I. P. C., Ter Bekke, R. M. A., Volders, P. G. A., van der Crabben, S. N., Postema, P. G., Wilde, A. A. M., Dooijes, D., Baas, A. F., & Hassink, R. J. (2023). The genetic basis of apparently idiopathic ventricular fibrillation: a retrospective overview. EP Europace, 25(11). https://doi.org/10.1093/europace/euad336
    • Stevens, R. R. F., Hazelaar, C., Bogowicz, M., Ter Bekke, R. M. A., Volders, P. G. A., Verhoeven, K., de Ruysscher, D., Verhoeff, J. J. C., Fast, M. F., Mandija, S., Cvek, J., Knybel, L., Dvorak, P., Blanck, O., & van Elmpt, W. (2023). A framework for assessing the impact of cardiac and respiratory motion for STereotactic Arrhythmia Radioablation (STAR) using a digital phantom with a 17-segment model - A STOPSTORM.eu consortium study. International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2023.08.059
    • ter Bekke, R. M. A., de Schouwer, K., Conti, S., Claes, G. R. F., Vanoevelen, J., Gommers, S., Helderman-van den Enden, A. T. J. M., & Brunner-LaRocca, H-P. (2023). Juvenile-onset multifocal atrial arrhythmias, atrial standstill and compound heterozygosity of genetic variants in TAF1A: sentinel event for evolving dilated cardiomyopathy-a case report. European Heart Journal - Case Reports, 7(6), Article ytad255. https://doi.org/10.1093/ehjcr/ytad255
    • Rijks, J. H. J., Lankveld, T., Manusama, R., Broers, B., van Stipdonk, A. M. W., Chaldoupi, S. M., ter Bekke, R. M. A., Schotten, U., Linz, D., Luermans, J. G. L. M., & Vernooy, K. (2023). Left Bundle Branch Area Pacing and Atrioventricular Node Ablation in a Single-Procedure Approach for Elderly Patients with Symptomatic Atrial Fibrillation. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 12(12), Article 4028. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12124028
    • Nies, H. M. J. M., Martens, B., Gommers, S., Bijvoet, G. P., Wildberger, J. E., Ter Bekke, R. M. A., Holtackers, R. J., & Mihl, C. (2023). Myocardial Scar Detection Using High-Resolution Free-Breathing 3D Dark-Blood and Standard Breath-Holding 2D Bright-Blood Late Gadolinium Enhancement MRI: A Comparison of Observer Confidence. Topics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 32(3), 27-32. https://doi.org/10.1097/RMR.0000000000000304
    • Isaacs, A., Barysenka, A., ter Bekke, R. M. A., den Enden, A. T. J. M. H., van den Wijngaard, A., Volders, P. G. A., & Stoll, M. (2023). Standing genetic variation affects phenotypic heterogeneity in an SCN5A-mutation founder population with excess sudden cardiac death. Heart Rhythm, 20(5), 720-727. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2023.02.004
    • 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, Article 1121517. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2023.1121517
    • Grehn, M., Mandija, S., Miszczyk, M., Krug, D., Tomasik, B., Stickney, K. E., Alcantara, P., Alongi, F., Anselmino, M., Aranda, R. S., Balgobind, B. V., Boda-Heggemann, J., Boldt, L. H., Bottoni, N., Cvek, J., Elicin, O., De Ferrari, G. M., Hassink, R. J., Hazelaar, C., ... Verhoeff, J. (2023). STereotactic Arrhythmia Radioablation (STAR): the Standardized Treatment and Outcome Platform for Stereotactic Therapy Of Re-entrant tachycardia by a Multidisciplinary consortium (STOPSTORM.eu) and review of current patterns of STAR practice in Europe. EP Europace, 25, 1284-1295. https://doi.org/10.1093/europace/euac238
    • Leao, S., Luermans, J., Vernooy, K., ter Bekke, R., den Uijl, D., Linz, D., & Chaldoupi, S-M. (2023). The great deceiver: a case series of 'double fire' atrioventricular nodal response. European Heart Journal - Case Reports, 7(4), Article ytad162. https://doi.org/10.1093/ehjcr/ytad162
    • 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, Article 1112980. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2023.1112980