Send to

Choose Destination
Chaos. 2007 Mar;17(1):015104.

Alternans and the influence of ionic channel modifications: Cardiac three-dimensional simulations and one-dimensional numerical bifurcation analysis.

Author information

Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt Berlin, Abbestr. 2-12, 10587 Berlin, Germany.


Cardiac propagation is investigated by simulations using a realistic three-dimensional (3D) geometry including muscle fiber orientation of the ventricles of a rabbit heart and the modified Beeler-Reuter ionic model. Electrical excitation is introduced by a periodic pacing of the lower septum. Depending on the pacing frequency, qualitatively different dynamics are observed, namely, normal heart beat, T-wave alternans, and 2:1 conduction block at small, intermediate, and large pacing frequencies, respectively. In a second step, we performed a numerical stability and bifurcation analysis of a pulse propagating in a one-dimensional (1D) ring of cardiac tissue. The precise onset of the alternans instability is obtained from computer-assisted linear stability analysis of the pulse and computation of the associated spectrum. The critical frequency at the onset of alternans and the profiles of the membrane potential agree well with the ones obtained in the 3D simulations. Next, we computed changes in the wave profiles and in the onset of alternans for the Beeler-Reuter model with modifications of the sodium, calcium, and potassium channels, respectively. For this purpose, we employ the method of numerical bifurcation and stability analysis. While blocking of calcium channels has a stabilizing effect, blocked sodium or potassium channels lead to the occurrence of alternans at lower pacing frequencies. The findings regarding channel blocking are verified within three-dimensional simulations. Altogether, we have found T-wave alternans and conduction block in 3D simulations of a realistic rabbit heart geometry. The onset of alternans has been analyzed by numerical bifurcation and stability analysis of 1D wave trains. By comparing the results of the two approaches, we find that alternans is not strongly influenced by ingredients such as 3D geometry and propagation anisotropy, but depends mostly on the frequency of pacing (frequency of subsequent action potentials). In addition, we have introduced numerical bifurcation and stability analysis as a tool into heart modeling and demonstrated its efficiency in scanning a large set of parameters in the case of models with reduced conductivity. Bifurcation analysis also provides an accurate test for analytical theories of alternans as is demonstrated for the case of the restitution hypothesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Institute of Physics
Loading ...
Support Center