Comparison of bipolar and unipolar programmed electrical stimulation for the initiation of ventricular arrhythmias: significance of anodal excitation during bipolar stimulation.
To determine if anodal excitation during bipolar stimulation facilitates the initiation of sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia, nonsustained polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, or repetitive ventricular responses, both bipolar and cathodal unipolar programmed ventricular stimulation with one to three extrastimuli delivered during ventricular pacing at two rates from the right ventricular apex were performed in 28 patients evaluated for spontaneous sustained ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation (11 patients), nonsustained tachycardia (eight patients), or syncope (nine patients). In 25 patients a hexapolar pacing catheter was used to record local endocardial activation times adjacent to the cathode and anode and ventricular excitation during bipolar stimulation was defined as predominantly anodal, cathodal, or simultaneous at both anode and cathode. When bipolar and unipolar stimulation were compared there was no difference in the incidence of initiating sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia (57% vs 57%), nonsustained polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (14% vs 14%), or repetitive ventricular responses (21% vs 21%), although the response to bipolar vs unipolar stimulation was not concordant in every patient. Evidence of anodal excitation was observed in 11 (44%) patients but did not indicate increased risk of initiation of any ventricular arrhythmia, despite the fact that it was associated with shortening of the ventricular effective refractory period by 5.2 +/- 8.7 msec (p less than .05) during bipolar as opposed to unipolar stimulation. We conclude that unipolar and bipolar stimulation produce a similar incidence of initiation of arrhythmia, despite the frequent occurrence of anodal excitation during bipolar stimulation. Thus, the risk of initiation of nonspecific ventricular arrhythmias during programmed stimulation is unlikely to be reduced by the use of unipolar stimulation.
- Copyright © 1986 by American Heart Association