Collision-based spiral acceleration in cardiac media: roles of wavefront curvature and excitable gap.
We have previously shown in experimental cardiac cell monolayers that rapid point pacing can convert basic functional reentry (single spiral) into a stable multiwave spiral that activates the tissue at an accelerated rate. Here, our goal is to further elucidate the biophysical mechanisms of this rate acceleration without the potential confounding effects of microscopic tissue heterogeneities inherent to experimental preparations. We use computer simulations to show that, similar to experimental observations, single spirals can be converted by point stimuli into stable multiwave spirals. In multiwave spirals, individual waves collide, yielding regions with negative wavefront curvature. When a sufficient excitable gap is present and the negative-curvature regions are close to spiral tips, an electrotonic spread of excitatory currents from these regions propels each colliding spiral to rotate faster than the single spiral, causing an overall rate acceleration. As observed experimentally, the degree of rate acceleration increases with the number of colliding spiral waves. Conversely, if collision sites are far from spiral tips, excitatory currents have no effect on spiral rotation and multiple spirals rotate independently, without rate acceleration. Understanding the mechanisms of spiral rate acceleration may yield new strategies for preventing the transition from monomorphic tachycardia to polymorphic tachycardia and fibrillation.
Tranquillo, JV; Badie, N; Henriquez, CS; Bursac, N
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