Three-dimensional computer model of the heart: Fibrillation induced by extrastimulation

Nitish V. Thakor, Lawrence N. Eisenman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We present a three-dimensional (3D) computer model that simulates electrical activity in the heart during fibrillation. A real dog heart is discretized to form 1473 interconnected cubic elements. The model exhibits normal activation and recovery from pacing. Five or more extrastimuli induce a self-sustaining tachyarrhythmia that soon degenerates into a fibrillatory rhythm. The extrastimuli increase the excitability of the myocardial cell population. The result is a rapid re-excitation of cells that allows for only a partial recovery of cell action potential. This suggests that a dispersion of refractory states of the cell population is the cause of fibrillation in this computer model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-545
Number of pages14
JournalComputers and Biomedical Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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