Spiral wave unpinning facilitated by wave emitting sites in cardiac monolayers


Rotating spiral waves of electrical activity in the heart can anchor to unexcitable tissue (an obstacle) and become stable pinned waves. A pinned rotating wave can be unpinned either by a local electrical stimulus applied close to the spiral core, or by an electric field pulse that excites the core of a pinned wave independently of its localization. The wave will be unpinned only when the pulse is delivered inside a narrow time interval called the unpinning window (UW) of the spiral. In experiments with cardiac monolayers, we found that other obstacles situated near the pinning centre of the spiral can facilitate unpinning. In numerical simulations, we found increasing or decreasing of the UW depending on the location, orientation and distance between the pinning centre and an obstacle. Our study indicates that multiple obstacles could contribute to unpinning in experiments with intact hearts.

Proceedings - Royal Society. Mathematical, physical and engineering sciences 475: 20190420