A comparative analysis of antegrade and retrograde conduction patterns in man.
Patterns of antegrade and retrograde conduction and refractory periods were studied using His bundle electrogram recordings, incremental atrial and ventricular pacing and the extrastimulus technique. In 36/50 patients antegrade conduction was "better" than retrograde conduction (group I), as evidenced by a) onset of retrograde atrioventricular (A-V) nodal Wenckebach phenomenon at a slower rate compared to the antegrade counterpart (25 patients: group IA) or b) no ventriculo-atrial conduction at all ventricular paced rates (11 pts: group IB). The site of retrograde block in group IB patients was the A-V node. In eight patients (group II), antegrade and retrograde conduction appeared to be equal up to maximum paced rates of 160 beats/min. In six patients (group III) retrograde conduction was "better" than antegrade conduction, as indicated by onset of antegrade A-V nodal Wenckebach periods at slower rates than retrograde Wenckebach periods. During antegrade refractory period studies the area of maximum refractoriness was the A-V node in 19/40 patients, the His-Purkinje system (HPS) 6/40, and the atrial muscle in 15/40. During retrograde refractory period studies the A-V node was the area of maximum refractoriness in 12/36 pts (4/40 patients had A-V dissociation during ventricular pacing), the HPS in 12/36, and the ventricular muscle in 10/36. In 2/36 patients the site of maximum refractoriness retrogradely could not be determined: The area of maximum refractoriness during both antegrade and retrograde refractory period studies was the same in 11 patients (A-V node in seve and HPS in four), was different (i.e., A-V node or HPS) in 18 patients, and was the artrial or ventricular muscle in six patients. In five patients, including four patients in whom V-A conduction failed to occur, the above comparisons were not made. It is concluded that 1) antegrade conduction is better than retrograde conduction in most patients; 2) it is not always possible to predict area of maximum refractoriness during premature stimulation (both atrium and ventricle) from observations made during incremental pacing; 3) it is equally difficult to extrapolate patterns of retrograde conduction and refractory periods from results of antegrade conduction and refractory period studies.
- Copyright © 1975 by American Heart Association