Reentrant ventricular arrhythmias in the late myocardial infarction period: mechanism by which a short-long-short cardiac sequence facilitates the induction of reentry.
The electrophysiological mechanism by which a short-long-short stimulated cardiac sequence facilitates the induction of ventricular tachyarrhythmia was investigated in dogs 4 days after ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery. In these dogs, reentry develops in the surviving electrophysiologically abnormal epicardial layer that overlies the infarct zone when premature stimulation results in a critically long arc of functional conduction block. The activation wavefront circulates around both ends of the arc, coalesces, and conducts slowly distal to the arc before reactivating sites proximal to the arc to initiate a figure-eight reentrant circuit. Epicardial isochronal activation maps and effective refractory periods (ERPs) were determined during three different stimulation protocols: A, a basic train of eight beats at a cycle length of 300 msec followed by a single premature stimulus (S2); B, a basic train of eight beats at a cycle length of 300 msec with abrupt lengthening of the last cycle of the train before S2 to 600 msec; C, a basic train of eight beats at a cycle length of 600 msec followed by S2. Protocol B was found to result in a differential lengthening of ERP at adjacent sites within the border of the epicardial ischemic zone, whereas protocols A and C induced, respectively, comparable shortening and lengthening of ERPs at the same sites. The differential lengthening of ERPs at adjacent sites resulted in an increased dispersion of refractoriness so that a premature stimulus induced functional conduction block between those sites. The development of a longer arc of conduction block and, hence, a longer reentrant pathway as well as slower conduction of the circulating wavefront during protocol B allowed more time for refractoriness to expire proximal to the arc and for the circulating wavefront to reexcite those sites to initiate reentry. The lengthening of ERP, associated with a single long cycle (protocol B), ranged from 44% to 79% of the total increase in ERP after a series of eight long cycles (protocol C). Epicardial sites with longer ERPs located close to the center of the ischemic zone showed more lengthening of refractoriness during protocol B compared with more normal sites near the border of the ischemic zone. This strongly suggests that the increased dispersion of refractoriness during protocol B is caused by the shorter memory of ischemic myocardium to the cumulative effects of preceding cycle lengths.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association