, Volume 38, Issue 9, pp 2865-2876

Applications of Control Theory to the Dynamics and Propagation of Cardiac Action Potentials

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Sudden cardiac arrest is a widespread cause of death in the industrialized world. Most cases of sudden cardiac arrest are due to ventricular fibrillation (VF), a lethal cardiac arrhythmia. Electrophysiological abnormalities such as alternans (a beat-to-beat alternation in action potential duration) and conduction block have been suspected to contribute to the onset of VF. This study focuses on the use of control-systems techniques to analyze and design methods for suppressing these precursor factors. Control-systems tools, specifically controllability analysis and Lyapunov stability methods, were applied to a two-variable Karma model of the action-potential (AP) dynamics of a single cell, to analyze the effectiveness of strategies for suppressing AP abnormalities. State-feedback-integral (SFI) control was then applied to a Purkinje fiber simulated with the Karma model, where only one stimulating electrode was used to affect the system. SFI control converted both discordant alternans and 2:1 conduction block back toward more normal patterns, over a wider range of fiber lengths and pacing intervals compared with a Pyragas-type chaos controller. The advantages conferred by using feedback from multiple locations in the fiber, and using integral (i.e., memory) terms in the controller, are discussed.

Associate Editor Leonidas D. Iasemidis oversaw the review of this article.