In the civilised world, cardiovascular diseases are the most frequent cause of death. The more the population ages, the more frequent cardiac arrhythmias are.
Their incidence is probably going to rise in the future. Unfortunately, the cause of arrhythmia is unknown in most cases and their origin is not sufficiently explored. We focus on a possible origin of arrhythmias in an abnormal heart development from the molecular to the organ level. The development of electrical conduction system of the heart plays the key role. Defects in its function during the ontogenesis lead to defective production of action potentials and slowed-down or completely disconnected signal transmission through individual parts of heart. This is the cause of a significant number of arrhythmias.
Chicken embryo is a convenient model for studying cardiac arrhythmias. On the left: a chicken embryo cultivated in a plastic dish during the echocardiographic examination. In the middle: a video recording from an open egg at a 4-day old embryo (ED4). On the right: a micro-ultrasound recording of an 8-day old embryo (ED8).