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AIMS: Acute ischemia is a major cause of sudden arrhythmic death, further promoted by potassium current blockers. Macro-reentry around the ischemic region and early afterdepolarizations (EADs) caused by electrotonic current have been suggested as potential mechanisms in animal and isolated cell studies. However, ventricular and human-specific arrhythmia mechanisms and their modulation by repolarization reserve remain unclear. The goal of this paper is to unravel multiscale mechanisms underlying the modulation of arrhythmic risk by potassium current (IKr) block in human ventricles with acute regional ischemia. METHODS AND RESULTS: A human ventricular biophysically-detailed model, with acute regional ischemia is constructed by integrating experimental knowledge on the electrophysiological ionic alterations caused by coronary occlusion. Arrhythmic risk is evaluated by determining the vulnerable window (VW) for reentry following ectopy at the ischemic border zone. Macro-reentry around the ischemic region is the main reentrant mechanism in the ischemic human ventricle with increased repolarization reserve due to the ATP-sensitive potassium current (IK(ATP)) activation. Prolongation of refractoriness by 4% caused by 30% IKr reduction counteracts the establishment of macro-reentry and reduces the VW for reentry (by 23.5%). However, a further decrease in repolarization reserve (50% IKr reduction) is less anti-arrhythmic despite further prolongation of refractoriness. This is due to the establishment of transmural reentry enabled by electrotonically-triggered EADs in the ischemic border zone. EADs are produced by L-type calcium current (ICaL) reactivation due to prolonged low amplitude electrotonic current injected during the repolarization phase. CONCLUSIONS: Electrotonically-triggered EADs are identified as a potential mechanism facilitating intramural reentry in a regionally-ischemic human ventricles model with reduced repolarization reserve.

Original publication




Journal article


Prog Biophys Mol Biol

Publication Date





236 - 248


Computer-based model, Ischemic heart disease, Potassium channels, Repolarization, Ventricular arrhythmia, Acute Disease, Animals, Calcium Channels, L-Type, Heart Ventricles, Humans, Membrane Potentials, Models, Anatomic, Myocardial Ischemia, Time Factors