Dynamical mechanism of atrial fibrillation: A topological approach
While spiral wave breakup has been implicated in the emergence of atrial fibrillation, its role in maintaining this complex type of cardiac arrhythmia is less clear. We used the Karma model of cardiac excitation to investigate the dynamical mechanisms that sustain atrial fibrillation once it has been established. The results of our numerical study show that spatiotemporally chaotic dynamics in this regime can be described as a dynamical equilibrium between topologically distinct types of transitions that increase or decrease the number of wavelets, in general agreement with the multiple wavelets' hypothesis. Surprisingly, we found that the process of continuous excitation waves breaking up into discontinuous pieces plays no role whatsoever in maintaining spatiotemporal complexity. Instead, this complexity is maintained as a dynamical balance between wave coalescence-a unique, previously unidentified, topological process that increases the number of wavelets-and wave collapse-a different topological process that decreases their number.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CMMI- 1028133. The Tesla K20 GPUs used for this research were donated by the “NVIDIA Corporation” through the academic hardware donation program. C.D.M. gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the EPSRC via Grant No. EP/N014391/1 (UK).
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from AIP Publishing via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 27, article 093936
- Mathematics 
Place of publication