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In order to study heart-pacemaker interaction (HPI), a computer model of the cardiac conduction system has been developed which includes the effects of artificial pacemaker function and failure. The stochastic network model of cardiac conduction consists of five vertices, each representing a functional electrophysiologic element. Electrophysiologic multidimensional conditional probability functions determine the depolarization status of each vertex. The atrioventricular (AV) node is emulated using a mathematical model which includes the influence of past cycle lengths on AV nodal conduction time. Twenty-three classes of arrhythmias may be simulated and, for pacing simulation, one of 12 antibradycardia pacing modes may be chosen. Random effects of pacemaker malfunction including oversensing, undersensing, or failure-to-capture may be simulated through the use of probability distribution functions. This model should prove useful in the development of pacemaker algorithms, determining patient-specific pacemaker therapy, and predicting causes for apparent pacemaker malfunction. The model has been used in the development of an expert system to analyze paced ECGs for pacemaker function and malfunction.
Date of Publication: Sept. 1993