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Med Biol Eng Comput. 2009 Jul;47(7):719-29. doi: 10.1007/s11517-009-0472-x. Epub 2009 Mar 21.

Cardiac anisotropy in boundary-element models for the electrocardiogram.

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  • 1Research Center, Sacré-Coeur Hospital, 5400 Boulevard Gouin Ouest, Montreal, QC, H4J 1C5, Canada.


The boundary-element method (BEM) is widely used for electrocardiogram (ECG) simulation. Its major disadvantage is its perceived inability to deal with the anisotropic electric conductivity of the myocardial interstitium, which led researchers to represent only intracellular anisotropy or neglect anisotropy altogether. We computed ECGs with a BEM model based on dipole sources that accounted for a "compound" anisotropy ratio. The ECGs were compared with those computed by a finite-difference model, in which intracellular and interstitial anisotropy could be represented without compromise. For a given set of conductivities, we always found a compound anisotropy value that led to acceptable differences between BEM and finite-difference results. In contrast, a fully isotropic model produced unacceptably large differences. A model that accounted only for intracellular anisotropy showed intermediate performance. We conclude that using a compound anisotropy ratio allows BEM-based ECG models to more accurately represent both anisotropies.

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