Research Highlights

Understanding AF Mechanisms Through Computational Modelling and Simulations


Konstantinos N Aronis, Rheeda L Ali, Jialiu A Liang, Shijie Zhou1 and Natalia A Trayanova

Arrhythmia & Electrophysiology Review 8(3) (17 June 2019): 210-9

AF is a progressive disease of the atria, involving complex mechanisms related to its initiation, maintenance and progression. Computational modelling provides a framework for integration of experimental and clinical findings, and has emerged as an essential part of mechanistic research in AF. The authors summarise recent advancements in development of multi-scale AF models and focus on the mechanistic links between alternations in atrial structure and electrophysiology with AF. Key AF mechanisms that have been explored using atrial modelling are pulmonary vein ectopy; atrial fibrosis and fibrosis distribution; atrial wall thickness heterogeneity; atrial adipose tissue infiltration; development of repolarisation alternans; cardiac ion channel mutations; and atrial stretch with mechano-electrical feedback. They review modelling approaches that capture variability at the cohort level and provide cohort-specific mechanistic insights. The authors conclude with a summary of future perspectives, as envisioned for the contributions of atrial modelling in the mechanistic understanding of AF.