The magnetic field associated with a plane wave front propagating through cardiac tissue

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 1999 Nov;46(11):1288-92. doi: 10.1109/10.797988.


An action potential propagating through a two-dimensional sheet of cardiac tissue produces a magnetic field. In the direction of propagation, the intracellular and extracellular current densities are equal and opposite, so the net current is zero. However, because of the unequal anisotropy ratios in the intracellular and extracellular spaces, the component of the current density perpendicular to the direction of propagation does not, in general, vanish. This line of current produces the magnetic field. The amplitude of the magnetic field is zero only if the action potential propagates parallel to or perpendicular to the fiber direction, or if the tissue has equal anisotropy ratios.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Anisotropy
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Heart / innervation
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetics*
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology