Circus movement atrial flutter in canine sterile pericarditis model. Activation patterns during entrainment and termination of single-loop reentry in vivo.
BACKGROUND Recently, we used a custom designed "jacket" electrode with 127 bipolar electrodes in a flexible nylon matrix to map the total atrial epicardial surface in the in situ canine heart. Atrial flutter in dogs with sterile pericarditis was shown to be due to a single wave front circulating around a combined functional/anatomic obstacle, with the arc of functional conduction block contiguous with one or more of the atrial vessels.
METHODS AND RESULTS In the present study, this model was used to analyze the activation pattern during pacing-induced entrainment and termination of single reentrant loops in a syncytium without anatomically predetermined pathways. Sustained atrial flutter was induced in five dogs with 3-5-day-old sterile pericarditis. Atrial pacing at a cycle length 5-30 msec shorter than the spontaneous cycle length entrained the arrhythmia and could result in a "classical" activation pattern, characterized by an antidromic stimulated wave that collided with the reentrant orthodromic wave front of the previous beat at a constant site. However, two variations of this classical activation pattern were also observed: 1) Pacing at short cycle lengths could lead to localized conduction block in antidromic direction, forcing a change in the pathway of the antidromic wave front. This could prevent the expected shift of the site of collision in antidromic direction. 2) The stimulated orthodromic wave front could also use a pathway different from that of the original reentrant impulse, so that a different circuit was active during the pacing period. Termination of atrial flutter by rapid atrial stimulation was associated with progressive slowing and finally blocking of the paced orthodromic wave front and a progressive shift of the site of collision in antidromic direction. The occurrence of conduction block was determined by the cycle length of stimulation and the number of stimulated beats. A longer train at the critical cycle length or the critical number of beats at a shorter cycle length could reinduce the same reentrant circuit or a different reentrant circuit, respectively, during stimulated cycles following the beat that terminated reentry.
CONCLUSIONS The epicardial activation sequence during entrainment of reentrant arrhythmias does not necessarily follow a standard activation pattern. Instead, the stimulated orthodromic as well as the antidromic wave front might use a pathway different from that of the original reentrant wave front. The mechanisms of termination, failure of termination, and reinitiation of single-loop reentry are similar to those in the "figure-eight" reentrant circuit.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association