Data_Sheet_2_Effect of Heart Structure on Ventricular Fibrillation in the Rabbit: A Simulation Study.docx

Ventricular fibrillation (VF) is a lethal condition that affects millions worldwide. The mechanism underlying VF is unstable reentrant electrical waves rotating around lines called filaments. These complex spatio-temporal patterns can be studied using both experimental and numerical methods. Computer simulations provide unique insights including high resolution dynamics throughout the heart and systematic control of quantities such as fiber orientation and cellular kinetics that are not feasible experimentally. Here we study filament dynamics using two bi-ventricular 3-D high-resolution rabbit heart geometries, one with detailed fine structure and another without fine structure. We studied filament dynamics using anisotropic and isotropic conductivities, and with four cellular action potential models with different recovery kinetics. Spiral wave dynamics observed in isotropic two-dimensional sheets were not predictive of the behavior in the whole heart. In 2-D the four cell models exhibited stable reentry, meandering spiral waves, and spiral-wave breakup. In the whole heart with fine structure, all simulation results exhibited complex dynamics reminiscent of fibrillation observed experimentally. In the whole heart without fine structure, anisotropy acted to destabilize filament dynamics although the number of filaments was reduced compared to the heart with structure. In addition, in isotropic hearts without structure the two cell models that exhibited meandering spiral waves in 2-D, stabilized into figure-of-eight surface patterns. We also studied the sensitivity of filament dynamics to computer system configuration and initial conditions. After large simulation times, different macroscopic results sometimes occurred across different system configurations, likely due to a lack of bitwise reproducibility. The study conclusions were insensitive to initial condition perturbations, however, the exact number of filaments over time and their trends were altered by these changes. In summary, we present the following new results. First, we provide a new cell model that resembles the surface patterns of VF in the rabbit heart both qualitatively and quantitatively. Second, filament dynamics in the whole heart cannot be predicted from spiral wave dynamics in 2-D and we identified anisotropy as one destabilizing factor. Third, the exact dynamics of filaments are sensitive to a variety of factors, so we suggest caution in their interpretation and their quantitative analyses.