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Biophys J. 1999 Sep;77(3):1404-17.

Roles of electric field and fiber structure in cardiac electric stimulation.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering of the School of Engineering, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA.


This study investigated roles of the variation of extracellular voltage gradient (VG) over space and cardiac fibers in production of transmembrane voltage changes (DeltaV(m)) during shocks. Eleven isolated rabbit hearts were arterially perfused with solution containing V(m)-sensitive fluorescent dye (di-4-ANEPPS). The epicardium received shocks from symmetrical or asymmetrical electrodes to produce nominally uniform or nonuniform VGs. Extracellular electric field and DeltaV(m) produced by shocks in the absolute refractory period were measured with electrodes and a laser scanner and were simulated with a bidomain computer model that incorporated the anterior left ventricular epicardial fiber field. Measurements and simulations showed that fibers distorted extracellular voltages and influenced the DeltaV(m). For both uniform and nonuniform shocks, DeltaV(m) depended primarily on second spatial derivatives of extracellular voltages, whereas the VGs played a smaller role. Thus, 1) fiber structure influences the extracellular electric field and the distribution of DeltaV(m); 2) the DeltaV(m) depend on second spatial derivatives of extracellular voltage.

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