Complex-periodic spiral waves in confluent cardiac cell cultures induced by localized inhomogeneities

Seong Min Hwang, Tae Yun Kim, Kyoung J. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Spatiotemporal wave activities in excitable heart tissues have long been the subject of numerous studies because they underlie different forms of cardiac arrhythmias. In particular, understanding the dynamics and the instabilities of spiral waves have become very important because they can cause reentrant tachycardia and their subsequent transitions to fibrillation. Although many aspects of cardiac spiral waves have been investigated through experiments and model simulations, their complex properties are far from well understood. Here, we show that intriguing complex-periodic (such as period-2, period-3, period-4, or aperiodic) spiral wave states can arise in monolayer tissues of cardiac cell culture in vitro, and demonstrate that these different dynamic states can coexist with abrupt and spontaneous transitions among them without any change in system parameters; in other words, the medium supports multistabillty. Based on extensive image data analysis, we have confirmed that these spiral waves are driven by their tips tracing complex orbits whose unusual, meandering shapes are formed by delicate interplay between localized conduction blocks and nonlinear properties of the culture medium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10363-10368
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jul 19


  • Arrhythmia
  • Cardiac spiral waves
  • Complex oscillations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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