Spiral wave attachment to millimeter-sized obstacles

Zhan Yang Lim, Barun Maskara, Felipe Aguel, Roland Emokpae, Leslie Tung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND - Functional reentry in the heart takes the form of spiral waves. Drifting spiral waves can become pinned to anatomic obstacles and thus attain stability and persistence. Lidocaine is an antiarrhythmic agent commonly used to treat ventricular tachycardia clinically. We examined the ability of small obstacles to anchor spiral waves and the effect of lidocaine on their attachment. METHODS AND RESULTS - Spiral waves were electrically induced in confluent monolayers of cultured, neonatal rat cardiomyocytes. Small, circular anatomic obstacles (0.6 to 2.6 mm in diameter) were situated in the center of the monolayers to provide an anchoring site. Eighty reentry episodes consisting of at least 4 revolutions were studied. In 36 episodes, the spiral wave attached to the obstacle and became stationary and sustained, with a shorter reentry cycle length and higher rate. Spiral waves could attach to obstacles as small as 0.6 mm, with a likelihood for attachment that increased with obstacle size. After attachment, both conduction velocity of the wave-front tip and wavelength near the obstacle adapted from their pre-reentry values and increased linearly with obstacle size. In contrast, reentry cycle length did not correlate significantly with obstacle size. Addition of lidocaine 90 μmol/L depressed conduction velocity, increased reentry cycle length, and caused attached spiral waves to become quasi- attached to the obstacle or terminate. CONCLUSIONS - Anchored spiral waves exhibit properties of both unattached spiral waves and anatomic reentry. Their behavior may be representative of functional reentry dynamics in cardiac tissue, particularly in the setting of monomorphic tachyarrhythmias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2113-2121
Number of pages9
Issue number20
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Action potentials
  • Antiarrhythmic drugs
  • Arrhythmia
  • Mapping
  • Reentry
  • Tachyarrhythmias
  • Ventricles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Spiral wave attachment to millimeter-sized obstacles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this