Modelling methodology of atrial fibrosis affects rotor dynamics and electrograms

Caroline H. Roney, Jason D. Bayer, Sohail Zahid, Marianna Meo, Patrick M.J. Boyle, Natalia A. Trayanova, Michel Haïssaguerre, Rémi Dubois, Hubert Cochet, Edward J. Vigmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIMS: Catheter ablation is an effective technique for terminating atrial arrhythmia. However, given a high atrial fibrillation (AF) recurrence rate, optimal ablation strategies have yet to be defined. Computer modelling can be a powerful aid but modelling of fibrosis, a major factor associated with AF, is an open question. Several groups have proposed methodologies based on imaging data, but no comparison to determine which methodology best corroborates clinically observed reentrant behaviour has been performed. We examined several methodologies to determine the best method for capturing fibrillation dynamics.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Patient late gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging data were transferred onto a bilayer atrial computer model and used to assign fibrosis distributions. Fibrosis was modelled as conduction disturbances (lower conductivity, edge splitting, or percolation), transforming growth factor-β1 ionic channel effects, myocyte-fibroblast coupling, and combinations of the preceding. Reentry was induced through pulmonary vein ectopy and the ensuing rotor dynamics characterized. Non-invasive electrocardiographic imaging data of the patients in AF was used for comparison. Electrograms were computed and the fractionation durations measured over the surface. Edge splitting produced more phase singularities from wavebreaks than the other representations. The number of phase singularities seen with percolation was closer to the clinical values. Addition of fibroblast coupling had an organizing effect on rotor dynamics. Simple tissue conductivity changes with ionic changes localized rotors over fibrosis which was not observed with clinical data.

CONCLUSION: The specific representation of fibrosis has a large effect on rotor dynamics and needs to be carefully considered for patient specific modelling.


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Atrial fibrosis
  • Computer modelling
  • Electrogram fractionation
  • Non-invasive electrocardiographic imaging
  • Phase singularity mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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