Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 64, Issue 6, pp 1083-1099

First online:

A mathematical model of human atrioventricular nodal function incorporating concealed conduction

  • Peter JørgensenAffiliated withCenter for Nonlinear Dynamics, Department of Physiology, McGill University
  • , Carsten SchäferAffiliated withCenter for Nonlinear Dynamics, Department of Physiology, McGill University
  • , Peter G. GuerraAffiliated withMontréal Heart Institute
  • , Mario TalajicAffiliated withMontréal Heart Institute
  • , Stanley NattelAffiliated withMontréal Heart Institute
  • , Leon GlassAffiliated withCenter for Nonlinear Dynamics, Department of Physiology, McGill University Email author 

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This work develops a mathematical model for the atrioventricular (AV) node in the human heart, based on recordings of electrical activity in the atria (the upper chambers of the heart) and the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart). Intracardiac recordings of the atrial and ventricular activities were recorded from one patient with atrial flutter and one with atrial fibrillation. During these arrhythmias, not all beats in the atria are conducted to the ventricles. Some are blocked (concealed). However, the blocked beats can affect the properties of the AV node. The activation times of the atrial events were regarded as inputs to a mathematical model of conduction in the AV node, including a representation of AV nodal concealment. The model output was compared to the recorded ventricular response to search for and identify the best possible parameter combinations of the model. Good agreement between the distribution of interbeat intervals in the model and data for durations of 5 min was achieved. A model of AV nodal behavior during atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation could potentially help to understand the relative roles of atrial input activity and intrinsic AV nodal properties in determining the ventricular response.