The aim of this study was to establish the role played by anisotropic diffusion in (i) the number of filaments and epicardial phase singularities that sustain ventricular fibrillation in the heart, (ii) the lifetimes of filaments and phase singularities, and (iii) the creation and annihilation dynamics of filaments and phase singularities. A simplified monodomain model of cardiac tissue was used, with membrane excitation described by a simplified 3-variable model. The model was configured so that a single re-entrant wave was unstable, and fragmented into multiple re-entrant waves. Re-entry was then initiated in tissue slabs with varying anisotropy ratio. The main findings of this computational study are: (i) anisotropy ratio influenced the number of filaments Sustaining simulated ventricular fibrillation, with more filaments present in simulations with smaller values of transverse diffusion coefficient, (ii) each re-entrant filament was associated with around 0.9 phase singularities on the surface of the slab geometry, (iii) phase singularities were longer lived than filaments, and (iv) the creation and annihilation of filaments and phase singularities were linear functions of the number of filaments and phase singularities, and these relationships were independent of the anisotropy ratio. This study underscores the important role played by tissue anisotropy in cardiac ventricular fibrillation
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