The transition to ventricular fibrillation induced by reperfusion after acute ischemia in the dog: a period of organized epicardial activation.
Ventricular fibrillation was induced in eight of 10 open-chest dogs by reperfusion after a 15-minute occlusion of the proximal circumflex coronary artery. Simultaneous recordings were made from 27 epicardial electrodes spaced over both ventricles. Analysis of the initial 1.5--2.5 seconds of the transition from sinus rhythm or ventricular tachycardia to fibrillation revealed that ventricular activation occurred in an orderly, rapidly repeating sequence in all hearts. Each activation from arose near the border of the ischemic-reperfused region and passed across the nonischemic portion of the ventricles to the opposite side of the heart as a single, organized wavefront. As the arrhythmia progressed, the time between the appearance of successive activation fronts on the epicardium decreased. Concurrently, the time for each activation front to traverse the ventricles increased. The stimulation increase in rate of appearance and decrease in conduction velocity for each successive cycle resulted in overlapping cycles in which a new activation front arose from the ischemic-reperfused region before the previous front terminated over the right ventricle. The overlap between successive activation fronts increased as the arrhythmia continued. Thus, ventricular activation during the transition to ventricular fibrillation arose near the border of the ischemic-reperfused region and was organized as it passed across the nonischemic tissue, but the body surface ECG appeared disorganized because of variable spacing between successive, coexistent activation fronts.
- Copyright © 1981 by American Heart Association