Cardiac tissue is always surrounded by conducting fluid, both in vivo (blood) and in experimental preparations (Tyrode's solution), which acts to increase conduction velocity (CV) close to the tissue-fluid interface, inducing transmural wavefront curvature. Despite its potential importance, computer modeling studies focused on arrhythmia mechanisms have previously not accounted for these bath-loading effects. Here, we investigate the increase in CV and concomitant change in transmural wavefront profiles upon both propagation and arrhythmia dynamics within models of differing anatomical complexity. In simplified slab models, in absence of transmural fiber rotation, bath-loading induced transmural wavefront curvature dominates, significantly increasing arrhythmia complexity compared to no bath. In the presence of fiber rotation, bath-loading effects are less striking and depend upon propagation direction: the bath accentuates natural concave curvature caused by transmurally rotating fibers, but attenuates convex curvature, which negates overall impact upon arrhythmia complexity. Finally, we demonstrate that the high degree of anatomical complexity within whole ventricular models modulates bath-loading induced transmural wavefront curvature. However, key is the increased surface CV that dramatically reduces both arrhythmia inducibility and resulting complexity by increasing wavelength and reducing the available excitable gap. Our findings highlight the importance of including bath-loading effects during arrhythmia mechanism investigations, which could have implications for interpreting and comparing simulation results with experimental data where such effects are inherently present.
Copyright © 2011 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.