Comparison of Electric- and Magnetic-Cardiograms Produced by Myocardial Ischemia in Models of the Human Ventricle and Torso

PLoS One. 2016 Aug 24;11(8):e0160999. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0160999. eCollection 2016.


Myocardial ventricular ischemia arises from a lack of blood supply to the heart, which may cause abnormal repolarization and excitation wave conduction patterns in the tissue, leading to cardiac arrhythmias and even sudden death. Current diagnosis of cardiac ischemia by the 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) has limitations as they are insensitive in many cases and may show unnoticeable differences to normal patterns. As the magnetic field provides extra information on cardiac excitation and is more sensitive to tangential currents to the surface of the chest, whereas the electric field is more sensitive to flux currents, it has been hypothesized that the magnetocardiogram (MCG) may provide a complementary method to the ECG in ischemic diagnosis. However, it is unclear yet about the differences in sensitivity regions of body surface ECG and MCG signals to ischemic conditions. The aim of this study was to investigate such differences by using 12-, 36- ECG and 36-MCG computed from multi-scale biophysically detailed computational models of the human ventricles and torso in both control and ischemic conditions. It was shown that ischemia produced changes in the ECG and MCG signals in the QRS complex, T-wave and ST-segment, with greater relative differences seen in the 36-lead ECG and MCG as compared to the 12-leads ECG (34% and 37% vs 26%, respectively). The 36-lead ECG showed more averaged sensitivity than the MCG in the change of T-wave due to ischemia (37% vs 32%, respectively), whereas the MCG showed greater sensitivity than the ECG in the change of the ST-segment (50% vs 40%, respectively). In addition, both MCG and ECG showed regional-dependent changes to ischemia, but with MCG showing a stronger correlation between ischemic region in the heart. In conclusion, MCG shows more sensitivity than ECG in response to ischemia, which may provide an alternative method for the diagnosis of ischemia.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Algorithms
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Computer Simulation
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Heart Ventricles / pathology
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetocardiography*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnosis*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Torso / physiopathology*

Grant support

This work was supported by CONACyT and EPSRC project grant. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.