Recurrent sustained ventricular tachycardia: structure and ultrastructure of subendocardial regions in which tachycardia originates.
Surgical resection of the endocardium and subendocardium often abolishes chronic recurrent sustained ventricular tachycardia in patients with healed myocardial infarcts or ventricular aneurysms, presumably by interrupting the reentrant pathway. To define the morphologic characteristics of cells in the reentrant pathway, we studied the histology and ultrastructure of the endocardial resections of 23 patients who underwent this procedure. Bundles of apparently viable myocardial fibers embedded in dense fibrous tissue were identified throughout the endocardial resections from all patients. These bundles of cells were separated from one another by fibrous tissue but extended uninterrupted to the margins of the surgical resection. In 14 patients Purkinje fibers were identified beneath the thickened endocardium whereas the remaining bundles were composed of ventricular muscle. The Purkinje fibers appeared to have normal ultrastructure and ventricular cells with both normal and abnormal ultrastructures were present. The abnormal muscle cells were characterized by loss of contractile elements, aggregates of dilated sarcoplasmic reticulum, and osmiophilic dense bodies. The sarcolemma was intact and the nuclear chromatin was evenly dispersed suggesting that these cells were still viable. The abnormal structure and arrangement of the surviving cardiac fibers in the endocardium may cause the abnormal electrophysiologic function that results in ventricular tachycardia.
- Copyright © 1983 by American Heart Association