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  • Author
    Julian Landaw
  • Co-author

    Xiaoping Yuan, Peng-Sheng Chen, and Zhilin Qu

  • Title

    The transient outward potassium current plays a key role in spiral wave breakup in ventricular tissue

  • Abstract

    Spiral wave reentry as a mechanism of lethal ventricular arrhythmias has been widely demonstrated in animal experiments and recordings from human hearts. It has been shown that in structurally normal hearts spiral waves are unstable, breaking up into multiple wavelets via dynamical instabilities. However, many of the second-generation action potential models give rise only to stable spiral waves, raising issues regarding the underlying the mechanisms of spiral wave breakup. In this study, we carried out computer simulations of two-dimensional homogeneous tissues using five ventricular action potential models. We show that the transient outward potassium current (Ito), although it is not required, plays a key role in promoting spiral wave breakup in all five models. As the maximum conductance of Ito increases, it first promotes spiral wave breakup and then stabilizes the spiral waves. Increasing Ito promotes single-cell dynamical instabilities, including action potential duration alternans and chaos, and increasing Ito further suppresses these action potential dynamics. These cellular properties agree with the observation that increasing Ito first promotes spiral wave breakup and then stabilizes spiral waves in tissue. Implications of our observations to spiral wave dynamics in the real hearts and action potential model improvements are discussed.

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