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Biophys J. 2000 Jun;78(6):2761-75.

Scroll wave dynamics in a three-dimensional cardiac tissue model: roles of restitution, thickness, and fiber rotation.

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Department of Medicine (Cardiology), University of California, Los Angeles 90095, USA.


Scroll wave (vortex) breakup is hypothesized to underlie ventricular fibrillation, the leading cause of sudden cardiac death. We simulated scroll wave behaviors in a three-dimensional cardiac tissue model, using phase I of the Luo-Rudy (LR1) action potential model. The effects of action potential duration (APD) restitution, tissue thickness, filament twist, and fiber rotation were studied. We found that APD restitution is the major determinant of scroll wave behavior and that instabilities arising from APD restitution are the main determinants of scroll wave breakup in this cardiac model. We did not see a "thickness-induced instability" in the LR1 model, but a minimum thickness is required for scroll breakup in the presence of fiber rotation. The major effect of fiber rotation is to maintain twist in a scroll wave, promoting filament bending and thus scroll breakup. In addition, fiber rotation induces curvature in the scroll wave, which weakens conduction and further facilitates wave break.

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