Dispersion of repolarization and arrhythmogenesis

Ruben Coronel, Francien J. G. Wilms-Schopman, Tobias Opthof, Michiel J. Janse

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BACKGROUND The relation between induction of arrhythmias and dispersion of repolarization is not completely understood. OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study was to study the relation between heterogeneity in repolarization and arrhythmogenesis under conditions of selective regional action potential prolongation and shortening. METHODS Pig hearts were perfused in a Langendorff setup. The left anterior descending artery (LAD) was cannulated and perfused. Sotalol (220 mu M) was infused in the aortic cannula, and pinacidil (20 mu M) was infused through the LAD, causing a gradient in repolarization time between the two myocardial regions. Premature stimulation was performed from the LAD region. RESULTS No transmural repolarization gradients developed after infusion of the drugs. High-density epicardial activation/repolarization mapping (176 unipolar electrodes, 2-mm interelectrode spacing) revealed a maximum repolarization gradient of approximately 120 ms over 14 mm. The critical parameter for differentiating between the occurrence of reentry and the mere occurrence of a tine of activation block between the two myocardial regions (and no reentry) was not the magnitude of the repolarization gradient but the timing of arrival of the premature activation wave at the distal side of the line of activation block relative to the repolarization time of the premature beat proximal to the line of block. No spontaneous arrhythmias were observed despite the presence of the repolarization gradient. CONCLUSION It is not the repolarization gradient but the restitution characteristics of the tissue with the shorter action potential, in combination with the time of arrival of the premature wavefront at the distal side of the line of block, that determines the occurrence of reentry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-543
JournalHeart rhythm
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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