Further Observations on the Etiology of the Right Bundle Branch Block Pattern Following Right Ventriculotomy
Fifteen patients with various congenital heart defects were studied during open heart surgery in order to establish the precise mechanism by which a right ventriculotomy causes a right bundle branch block (RBBB) pattern on the scalar electrocardiogram (ECG). All required a right ventriculotomy for the correction of their defects. In each, the right ventriculotomy was carried out in steps, with incisions (3 to 7) of approximately 1 cm in length. Six simultaneous scalar ECG leads were recorded prior to the first incision and following each incision. The QRS duration was then measured and related to the length of the ventriculotomy.
Following the right ventriculotomy, 12 of the 15 patients developed an RBBB pattern; the remaining three did not. In all cases, the total increase in QRS duration occurred during one specific incision of the right ventricular free wall and was not related to the total length of the ventriculotomy or to the sequence of the incisions. The site at which incision of the right ventricle caused the RBBB pattern was located at between 40 to 73% of the distance between the pulmonary artery annulus and the inferior border of the heart in nine patients; in three patients the site was higher on the right ventricular free wall.
Our results explain why some patients who had a right ventriculotomy during open heart surgery do not develop an RBBB pattern on the scalar ECG. Also, since no relation was found between the length of the incision and the QRS duration, our results suggest that the ventriculotomy-induced RBBB pattern is unlikely to be due to disruption of a continuous Purkinje network but is probably due to disruption of a distal branch or branches of the right bundle.
- Specialized atrioventricular conduction system
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Congenital heart disease
- Received June 13, 1974.
- Accepted July 25, 1974.
- © 1974 American Heart Association, Inc.