Sinus Node Re-entry
A Mechanism for Supraventricular Tachycardia
Data in 20 patients with normal sinus rhythm who, following induced premature atrial beats (PABs), manifested re-entry in the region of the sinus node are presented. PABs at coupling intervals ranging between 230-535 msec were followed by sinus node re-entry (SNR). Several criteria were applied to diagnose SNR: the temporal sequence of atrial excitation, the intra-atrial conduction time, the shape and polarity of the P waves, and manifestation of re-entry independent of atrioventricular (A-V) nodal delays. In 18 patients SNR lasting for one to several beats was observed. In the remaining two patients sustained SNR was manifested as supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), with cycle lengths ranging between 320-500 msec, which persisted for several minutes prior to its termination by properly timed atrial stimuli. In one of the latter two patients sustained SNR and SVT were produced only after atropine administration. Sinus node re-entry could be elicited at will in a specific echo zone with a duration ranging between 10-170 msec. In some cases SNR was also observed during and on cessation of regular atrial pacing. The latter observation provides a possible explanation for the unexpected sinus node acceleration seen sometimes on termination of atrial pacing. It is demonstrated that SNR for a single beat may fallaciously simulate sinus node entrance block. Simultaneous occurrence of re-entry at multiple sites, i.e., the sinus node and the A-V node, with resultant fusion P waves is also demonstrated. This study provides another mechanism for the genesis of regular and irregular SVT. The analysis and localization of the re-entry circuit may prove to be of clinical and therapeutic significance in selected patients.
- Received February 27, 1974.
- Accepted July 17, 1974.
- © 1974 American Heart Association, Inc.