Scroll-wave dynamics in human cardiac tissue: Lessons from a mathematical model with inhomogeneities and fiber architecture

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Abstract

Cardiac arrhythmias, such as ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF), are among the leading causes of death in the industrialized world. These are associated with the formation of spiral and scroll waves of electrical activation in cardiac tissue; single spiral and scroll waves are believed to be associated with VT whereas their turbulent analogs are associated with VF. Thus, the study of these waves is an important biophysical problem. We present a systematic study of the combined effects of muscle-fiber rotation and inhomogeneities on scroll-wave dynamics in the TNNP (ten Tusscher Noble Noble Panfilov) model for human cardiac tissue. In particular, we use the three-dimensional TNNP model with fiber rotation and consider both conduction and ionic inhomogeneities. We find that, in addition to displaying a sensitive dependence on the positions, sizes, and types of inhomogeneities, scroll-wave dynamics also depends delicately upon the degree of fiber rotation. We find that the tendency of scroll waves to anchor to cylindrical conduction inhomogeneities increases with the radius of the inhomogeneity. Furthermore, the filament of the scroll wave can exhibit drift or meandering, transmural bending, twisting, and break-up. If the scroll-wave filament exhibits weak meandering, then there is a fine balance between the anchoring of this wave at the inhomogeneity and a disruption of wave-pinning by fiber rotation. If this filament displays strong meandering, then again the anchoring is suppressed by fiber rotation; also, the scroll wave can be eliminated from most of the layers only to be regenerated by a seed wave. Ionic inhomogeneities can also lead to an anchoring of the scroll wave; scroll waves can now enter the region inside an ionic inhomogeneity and can display a coexistence of spatiotemporal chaos and quasi-periodic behavior in different parts of the simulation domain. We discuss the experimental implications of our study.

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Majumder, R., Nayak, A. R., & Pandit, R. (2011). Scroll-wave dynamics in human cardiac tissue: Lessons from a mathematical model with inhomogeneities and fiber architecture. PLoS ONE, 6(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0018052

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