Cardiac memory is the dependence of electrical activity on the prior history of one or more system state variables, including transmembrane potential (Vm), ionic current gating, and ion concentrations. While prior work has represented memory either phenomenologically or with biophysical detail, in this study, we consider an intermediate approach of a minimal three-variable cardiomyocyte model, modified with fractional-order dynamics, i.e., a differential equation of order between 0 and 1, to account for history-dependence. Memory is represented via both capacitive memory, due to fractional-order Vm dynamics, that arises due to non-ideal behavior of membrane capacitance; and ionic current gating memory, due to fractional-order gating variable dynamics, that arises due to gating history-dependence. We perform simulations for varying Vm and gating variable fractional-orders and pacing cycle length and measure action potential duration (APD) and incidence of alternans, loss of capture, and spontaneous activity. In the absence of ionic current gating memory, we find that capacitive memory, i.e., decreased Vm fractional-order, typically shortens APD, suppresses alternans, and decreases the minimum cycle length (MCL) for loss of capture. However, in the presence of ionic current gating memory, capacitive memory can prolong APD, promote alternans, and increase MCL. Further, we find that reduced Vm fractional order (typically less than 0.75) can drive phase 4 depolarizations that promote spontaneous activity. Collectively, our results demonstrate that memory reproduced by a fractional-order model can play a role in alternans formation and pacemaking, and in general, can greatly increase the range of electrophysiological characteristics exhibited by a minimal model.

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