The Onset of Fibrillation following a Heart Attack


Each year in the United States, approximately a quarter of a million people die as the result of a heart attack before reaching a hospital. In most of these cases, a coronary occlusion led to the sudden onset of fibrillation, a condition, which if not arrested, is fatal.

In this talk, I use models, mathematical analysis and numerical simulations to describe a possible mechanism for the onset of fibrillation following a coronary occlusion. The mechanism proposed here is substantially different than previously proposed mechanisms for the initiation of reentrant activity (spiral waves, etc.), as it takes into account some of the dynamic processes that are unique to heart attacks.