Cardiac near-field morphology during conduction around a microscopic obstacle--a computer simulation study

Ann Biomed Eng. 2003 Nov;31(10):1206-12. doi: 10.1114/1.1615573.


In a recent paper, we described the behavior of the cardiac electric near-field, E, parallel to the tissue surface during continuous conduction. We found that the tip of E describes a vector-loop during depolarization with the peak field, E, pointing opposite to the direction of propagation, phiI(m). Experimentally recorded loop morphologies of E, however, frequently showed significant deviations from the theoretically predicted behavior. We hypothesized that this variety of morphologies might be caused by conduction obstacles at a microscopic size scale. This study examines the influence of obstacles on the morphology of vector loops of E and whether the peak of distorted loops remains a reliable indicator for the direction of propagation. We used a computer model of a sheet of cardiac tissue with a central conduction obstacle immersed in an unbounded volume conductor. We studied the loop morphologies of E and the differences between the intracellularly determined direction of propagation, phiI(m), and the direction of E, phiE. Distortions of the vector loop were morphologically similar to those observed experimentally. Differences between phiI(m) and phiE were less than 18 degrees at all observation sites. The obstacle led to deformations of the loop morphology, particularly during the initial and terminal phases, and to a lesser degree near the instant of E. We concluded that E is a reliable indicator of phiI(m).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Surface Potential Mapping / methods*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Connective Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Connective Tissue / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Heart Conduction System / anatomy & histology*
  • Heart Conduction System / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Microelectrodes
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*