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A digital simulation has been performed of an idealized, thin, 2D cardiac slice in the x-y plane. The slice is stimulated near the center and the resulting action potential propagates outward, developing a distribution of electrical current with nonzero curl. An anisotropic bidomain model is used for the calculation, with membrane physiology based upon either just fast sodium flues or the more complete Beeler-Reuter myocardial model. The electrical anisotropy, expressed as the ratio of longitudinal to transverse electrical conductivity, is much greater for the inner domain than for the outer one, and this results in current loops that develop ahead of and behind the wavefront and produce a B z magnetic field of order 10 -9 T 1 mm above the tissue, similar to recent experimental observations on canine cardiac tissue slices. The fields exhibit a quatrefoil symmetry which can be distorted by nonuniformities in the tissue. The field from repolarization currents is larger by almost an order of magnitude than might be predicted from considerations of rate of change of voltage.
Date of Publication: Oct. 1994