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Computer Simulation and Experimental Assessment of Cardiac Electrophysiology FREE TO VIEW

Fred M. Kusumoto, MD
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Albuquerque, New Mexico

Chest. 2001;120(6):2118. doi:10.1378/chest.120.6.2118-a
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By Nathalie Virag, Olivier Blanc, and Lukas Kappenberger, eds. Armonk, NY: Futura Publishing, 2001; 191 pp; $79

When initially confronted by the long and rather imposing title of this multiauthored text, I was concerned that this book would only be appropriate for the small group of basic scientists who are directly involved with computer applications in the heart. However, I quickly found that this accessible and well-edited book provides summaries of important recent investigations of computer modeling that would be useful for all clinical electrophysiologists. Virag, Blanc, and Kappenberger have compiled and edited a series of papers that were presented at the Second International Workshop on Computer Simulation and Experimental Assessment of Electrical Cardiac Function in Lausanne, Switzerland, in December 2000. This workshop enabled a diverse group of biomedical engineers, mathematicians, computer experts, and clinicians to interact and discuss the application of computer modeling for understanding cardiac electrophysiology. The editors have divided the book into six sections that take the reader in a logical sequence from basic computer-modeling techniques to potential uses of computer modeling for the treatment of clinical arrhythmias.

The first section is comprised of four chapters that review some of the investigative studies that have used computer models to study electrical activation of the atria. I enjoyed deGroot and Allessie’s concise historical summary of the use of electrical mapping for understanding the pathophysiologic basis of atrial fibrillation. The second section is the largest. Five chapters are devoted to papers that describe the use of computer modeling in ventricular tissue. Pertsov provides a fascinating discussion on the relationship between spiral wave re-entry and ventricular fibrillation. In addition, Yoram Rudy presents a lovely summary of the recent work in noninvasive ECG imaging in abnormal hearts performed by the groups at the University of Utah and Case Western University. The third section focuses on the use of computer-modeling techniques for evaluating mechanical contraction of the heart. Since the book is directed to electrophysiologists, the material presented in this section is relatively limited. The studies in the fourth section demonstrate that computers can be used to model electrophysiologic activity of the whole heart. In particular, in their discussion of the development and potential applications of the Auckland whole heart model, Smith et al provide a glimpse of the enormous potential of computer modeling for the study of all aspects of cardiac pathophysiology. The final two short sections explore the roles of computer modeling in two common clinical arrhythmias: atrial fibrillation and ventricular fibrillation. The three chapters on ventricular fibrillation provide a brief and easily read introduction to recent investigative studies on the effects of electrical stimulation on the heart.

This book is a superb summary of the recent work in computer modeling in cardiac electrophysiology. While the general cardiologist would find this book rather esoteric, for the practicing clinical electrophysiologist, this small well-written book provides a concise and up-to-date introduction to some of the important uses of computers for understanding basic cardiac electrophysiology.




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