Visualizing Ventricular Fibrillation
Unsynchronized twitching of the heart’s ventricles—known as ventricular fibrillation—kills about 300,000 Americans yearly. Its underlying cause: electrical spiral and scroll waves that propagate through the heart. Simulation and visualization are playing an important role in understanding that process.
In a novel approach to a review of the research, Flavio Fenton, PhD, and Elizabeth Cherry, PhD, research associates in biomedical sciences at Cornell University, simulated and visualized what’s currently known about how electrical spiral waves propagate through the heart to cause tachycardia (rapid heart rate) and fibrillation. The work was published in the December 2008 Visualization in Physics focus issue of the New Journal of Physics.