Arrhythmogenesis as the failure of repolarization

Cardiac fibrillation occurs when heart cells no longer beat in unison. How it arises is not fully understood. In this study, we use computational models to show that arrhythmias can be initiated by cardiac cells that fail to repolarize of their own accord but still operate normally when embedded in functional heart tissue. Cells on tissue boundaries are most susceptible. Our findings may explain why the pulmonary vein is a common source of atrial fibrillation.


 

Heitmann, Shpak, Vandenberg, Hill (2021) Arrhthmogeneic effects of ultra-long and bistable cardiac action potentials. PLoS Computational Biology 17(2): e1008683. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008683