A space-fractional bidomain framework for cardiac electrophysiology: 1D alternans dynamics
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Cardiac electrophysiology modeling deals with a complex network of excitable cells forming an intricate syncytium: the heart. The electrical activity of the heart shows recurrent spatial patterns of activation, known as cardiac alternans, featuring multiscale emerging behavior. On these grounds, we propose a novel mathematical formulation for cardiac electrophysiology modeling and simulation incorporating spatially non-local couplings within a physiological reaction–diffusion scenario. In particular, we formulate, a space-fractional electrophysiological framework, extending and generalizing similar works conducted for the monodomain model. We characterize one-dimensional excitation patterns by performing an extended numerical analysis encompassing a broad spectrum of space-fractional derivative powers and various intra- and extracellular conductivity combinations. Our numerical study demonstrates that (i) symmetric properties occur in the conductivity parameters’ space following the proposed theoretical framework, (ii) the degree of non-local coupling affects the onset and evolution of discordant alternans dynamics, and (iii) the theoretical framework fully recovers classical formulations and is amenable for parametric tuning relying on experimental conduction velocity and action potential morphology.