Parasystole, reentry, and tachycardia: a canine preparation of cardiac arrhythmias occurring across inexcitable segments of tissue.
A protected ectopic focus created in tissue excised from one heart was allowed to interact with the activity of the intact heart of another animal. The protected focus consisted of a Purkinje fiber in which a narrow central zone was rendered inexcitable. The model permitted us to study parasystole, modulated parasystole, reentry, and tachycardia in the same preparation. At moderate levels of electrotonic influence across the region of block, frequency scans revealed wide zones of pacemaker entrainment. The incidence and pattern of premature ventricular contractions generated were always a sensitive function of heart rate. Parasystolic patterns could be converted to apparent reentrant patterns by simple alteration of the atrial driving rate or the level of block. Suppression of pacemaker automaticity converted a modulated parasystole model to one of pure reentry. Reciprocation of the impulse across the inexcitable tissue segment generated a ventricular tachycardia that could be initiated and terminated by a single properly timed event. Our observations suggest that ectopic activity that behaves like parasystole and activity characteristic of what is commonly diagnosed as reentry, including tachycardia and idioventricular rhythms, may be a manifestation of a common mechanism whose arrhythmic expression differs as a continuous function of heart rate, level of block, or level of automaticity.
- Copyright © 1983 by American Heart Association