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Exp Physiol. 2006 Mar;91(2):323-37. Epub 2006 Feb 9.

Defibrillation of the heart: insights into mechanisms from modelling studies.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, 500 Lindy Boggs Center, Suite 500, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA.


Despite its critical role in restoring cardiac rhythm and thus in saving human life, cardiac defibrillation remains poorly understood. Further mechanistic inquiry is hampered by the inability of presently available experimental techniques to resolve, with sufficient accuracy, electrical behaviour confined to the depth of the ventricles. The objective of this review article is to demonstrate that realistic 3-D simulations of the ventricular defibrillation process in close conjunction with experimental observations are capable of bringing a new level of understanding of the electrical events that ensue from the interaction between fibrillating myocardium and applied shock. The article does this by reviewing the results of two studies, one on vulnerability to electric shocks and another on defibrillation. An overview of the modelling tools used in these studies is also provided.

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