Premature escape beats induced by overdrive pacing in canine Purkinje fibers. Evidence for the role of normal automaticity as an underlying cellular mechanism.
Premature escape beats induced in conscious dogs with chronic complete atrioventricular block have been defined as escape beats occurring on cessation of overdrive pacing and having a coupling interval to the last paced beat shorter than the coupling interval between the premature escape beat and the second postpacing beat. Triggered activity has been proposed as the primary underlying mechanism. We used standard microelectrode techniques to study the effects of overdrive pacing on normal automatic canine Purkinje fibers to determine if premature escape beats could be induced and if so, to define the underlying cellular mechanism(s). For this purpose, we overdrive-paced Purkinje fibers for 10 and 50 seconds and for 10 and 50 beats at a pacing cycle length (PCL) of 1,000-200 msec. In addition, to help distinguish among major arrhythmogenic mechanisms, we used a matrix of drugs consisting of propranolol, nadolol, lidocaine, ethmozin, and doxorubicin. Fifty-second stimulation trains induced "classic" overdrive suppression of the first three postpacing impulses, whereas 10-second overdrive pacing induced significant overdrive suppression only at a PCL of 200 msec. With 50-beat overdrive pacing and a PCL of 1,000-600 msec, there was overdrive suppression of postpacing impulses, whereas reduced overdrive suppression was observed at a PCL of 400-200 msec. Ten-beat stimulation trains induced a "flat response" of postpacing impulses. Ten- and 50-beat overdrive pacing provoked premature escape beats in 66% of the fibers, with the higher incidence at a PCL of 200 msec for 50-beat stimulation trains. No shortening of the coupling interval of premature escape beats was observed at faster pacing rates. Only lidocaine (which suppresses normal automaticity) abolished premature escape beats. We conclude that normal automaticity is the most likely mechanism underlying premature escape beats in Purkinje fibers with high levels of membrane potential.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association