(WYTV)- As many as 6 million Americans may have irregular heartbeats. If it happens all the time, it’s called persistent atrial fibrillation.

If only we can get a better look inside the heart to learn why.

We can. A lab at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is working with donated human hearts. They come from people who are getting new hearts in a transplant. The researchers bring the upper chamber back to life to look for answers.

But it does give some insight into why it’s not beating appropriately. The heart is in a dish with four cameras around it and injected with dye to detect electrical activity.

“It’s amazing. You can see the heart beating back again. Of course the diseased heart doesn’t beat appropriately,” said Vadim Federov.

Normal imaging can capture about 200 recordings of the heart. This records 40­ thousand in 3­D. That allows mapping of the heart like never before and, if we’re lucky, we can find out more about persistent atrial fibrillation.

Scientists say they can keep the heart tissue alive for up to 12 hours to conduct their experiments.