Conduction velocity depression and drug-induced ventricular tachyarrhythmias. Effects of lidocaine in the intact canine heart.
Depression of myocardial conduction velocity can be an important mechanism of action of antiarrhythmic drugs but it can also facilitate arrhythmogenesis. We used lidocaine in an anesthetized canine preparation to address the hypothesis that drug-induced rate-dependent conduction velocity depression causes ventricular tachyarrhythmias. A closely spaced square array of 64 electrodes was used to determine conduction velocity longitudinal and transverse to epicardial ventricular fiber direction. Lidocaine caused rate-dependent decreases in conduction velocity that were proportionately greater in the longitudinal direction at the shortest pacing cycle lengths. Conduction velocity depression developed rapidly in the presence of lidocaine with a new steady state present by the second beat of the rapid train. Recovery from rate-dependent depression of conduction velocity was exponential with a time constant of 122 +/- 20 msec (mean +/- SD) in the longitudinal direction and 114 +/- 30 msec in the transverse direction; this difference was not significant. The relation between conduction velocity depression and ventricular arrhythmias was assessed by pacing for 3 minutes at cycle lengths of 1,000, 500, 300, and 250 msec, and for 1 minute at a cycle length of 200 msec. Arrhythmias did not occur in the baseline period in the dogs that received lidocaine, nor in 12 control dogs that were subjected to the same stimulation protocol except that saline was administered in place of lidocaine. Sustained polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (VT) occurred in six of 16 dogs given lidocaine. VT occurred in the presence of relatively high plasma lidocaine concentrations (8.4 +/- 2.3 micrograms/ml) and only at pacing cycle lengths of 300 msec or shorter. The dogs that developed VT demonstrated greater rate-dependent depression of conduction velocity than the other dogs, and activation patterns obtained just before the onset of VT showed marked conduction disturbances. Furthermore, QRS prolongation, loss of one-to-one capture, and increasingly distorted activation patterns preceded the onset of VT during fixed-rate pacing, suggesting progressive sodium channel block. In summary, rate-dependent conduction velocity depression and nonuniform activation were associated with VT in this model and can be responsible for some arrhythmias induced by antiarrhythmic drugs.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association