Fractional diffusion models of cardiac electrical propagation: role of structural heterogeneity in dispersion of repolarization

Alfonso Bueno-Orovio, David Kay, Vicente Grau, Blanca Rodriguez, Kevin Burrage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


Impulse propagation in biological tissues is known to be modulated by structural heterogeneity. In cardiac muscle, improved understanding on how this heterogeneity influences electrical spread is key to advancing our interpretation of dispersion of repolarization. We propose fractional diffusion models as a novel mathematical description of structurally heterogeneous excitable media, as a means of representing the modulation of the total electric field by the secondary electrical sources associated with tissue inhomogeneities. Our results, analysed against in vivo human recordings and experimental data of different animal species, indicate that structural heterogeneity underlies relevant characteristics of cardiac electrical propagation at tissue level. These include conduction effects on action potential (AP) morphology, the shortening of AP duration along the activation pathway and the progressive modulation by premature beats of spatial patterns of dispersion of repolarization. The proposed approach may also have important implications in other research fields involving excitable complex media.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20140352
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number97
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-10-07
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUK-C1-013-04
Acknowledgements: This study is based on work supported by award no. KUK-C1-013-04, made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. V.G. is supported by BBSRC grant no. BB/I012117/1 and EPSRC grant no. EP/J013250/1. A.B.O. and B.R. are supported by B.R.’s Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Sciences.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics


Dive into the research topics of 'Fractional diffusion models of cardiac electrical propagation: role of structural heterogeneity in dispersion of repolarization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this