Spontaneous termination of chaotic spiral wave dynamics in human cardiac ion channel models


Chaotic spiral or scroll wave dynamics can be found in diverse systems. In cardiac dynamics, spiral or scroll waves of electrical excitation determine the dynamics during life-threatening arrhythmias like ventricular fibrillation. In numerical studies it was found that chaotic episodes of spiral and scroll waves can be transient, thus they terminate spontaneously. We show in this study that this behavior can also be observed using models which describe the ion channel dynamics of human cardiomyocytes (Bueno-Orovio-Cherry-Fenton model and the Ten Tusscher-Noble-Noble-Panfilov model). For both models we find that the average lifetime of the chaotic transients grows exponentially with the system size. With this behavior, we classify the systems into the group of type-II supertransients. We observe a significant difference of the breakup behavior between the models, which results in a distinct dynamics during the final phase just before the termination. The observation of a (temporally) stable single-spiral state affects the prevailing description of the dynamics of type-II supertransients as being “quasi-stationary” and also the feasibility of predicting the spontaneous termination of the spiral wave dynamics. In the long term, the relation between the breakup behavior of spiral waves and properties of chaotic transients like predictability or average transient lifetime may contribute to an improved understanding and classification of cardiac arrhythmias.

PLoS One 14: e0221401