Excitation of a cardiac muscle fiber by extracellularly applied sinusoidal current.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


The goal of this study was to examine the effect of AC currents on a cardiac fiber. The study is the second in a series of two articles devoted to the subject. The initial study demonstrated that low-strength sinusoidal currents can cause hemodynamic collapse without inducing ventricular fibrillation. The present modeling study examines possible electrophysiologic mechanisms leading to such hemodynamic collapse.

Methods and results

A strand of cardiac myocytes was subjected to an extracellular sinusoidal current stimulus. The stimulus was located 100 microm over one end. Membrane dynamics were described by the Luo-Rudy dynamic model. Examination of the interspike intervals (ISI) revealed that they were dependent on the phase of the stimulus and, as a result, tended to take on discrete values. The frequency dependency of the current threshold to induce an action potential in the cable had a minimum, as has been found experimentally. When a sinus beat was added to the cable, the sinus beat dominated at low-stimulus currents, whereas at high currents the time between action potentials corresponded to the rate observed in a cable without the sinus beat. In between there was a transition region with a wide dispersion of ISIs.


The following phenomena observed in the initial study were reproduced and explained by the present simulation study: insignificant effect of temporal summation of subthreshold stimuli, frequency dependency of the extrasystole threshold, discrete nature of the ISI, and increase in regularity of the ISI with increasing stimulus strength.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Vigmond, EJ; Trayanova, NA; Malkin, RA

Published Date

  • October 1, 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 1145 - 1153

PubMed ID

  • 11699523

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2825110

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1540-8167

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1045-3873

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1046/j.1540-8167.2001.01145.x


  • eng