Electrophysiological and Electrochemical Background

  • Boris Ja. KoganEmail author


In this chapter we present some selected elementary knowledge concerning both the electro-physiology and electro-chemistry of the heart (for details see [1, 2, 3, 4]). This information covers the structures and properties of cardiac cells and tissues, required for understanding the formulation of the mathematical models of action potential (AP) generation and propagation. The basic terminology and definitions are introduced as is required by the discussed topics. Additional physiological information and definitions will be introduced in the following chapters as soon as they become necessary.

The basic distinctive features of cardiac cells and tissues are the properties of excitability and contractility. Excitability is defined as the ability of cardiac cells and tissues to respond to an over-threshold stimulation by generating and propagating electrical pulses – action potentials (APs). Contractility is the ability of cell contractile elements to shorten the cell length in response to an increase in intracellular Ca concentration in the process of developing AP (depolarization phase of membrane potential)


Cardiac Cell Outward Current Thick Filament Purkinje Fiber Intercalate Disc 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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