Mechanisms for atrial arrhythmias associated with cardiomyopathy: a study of feline hearts with primary myocardial disease.
The cellular electrophysiologic and structural characteristics of arrhythmic and non-arrhythmic atria isolated from feline hearts with spontaneously occurring cardiomyopathy were studied. The animals were divided into three groups according to the degree of left atrial enlargement: mild (group I), moderate (group II), and severe (group III). The right atria were of relatively normal size. Microelectrode recordings showed that inexcitable cells were present in both left and right atria of all groups but were most numerous in the left atria of group III animals. Most inexcitable cells had low resting membrane potentials. There was also a significant reduction in resting membrane potentials, maximum rate of phase 0 depolarization, and action potential amplitude of excitable cells in left atria of animals in groups II and III, whereas action potentials of excitable cells in the right atria were normal. Acetylcholine or norepinephrine often restored excitability to cells that originally did not generate action potentials. Norepinephrine also caused slow-response action potentials as well as abnormal automaticity and triggered activity due to delayed afterpotentials. The diseased atria showed marked structural abnormalities, which were most pronounced in group III cats, including large amounts of interstitial fibrosis, cellular hypertrophy and degeneration, and thickened basement membranes. Therefore electrophysiologic abnormalities and concurrent changes in cell structure may be involved in the genesis of atrial tachyarrhythmias caused by cardiomyopathy.
- Copyright © 1984 by American Heart Association