Dominant Frequency Increase Rate Predicts Transition from Paroxysmal to Long-Term Persistent Atrial Fibrillation
Background—Little is known about the mechanisms underlying the transition from paroxysmal to persistent atrial fibrillation (AF). In an ovine model of long-standing persistent AF (LS-PAF) we tested the hypothesis that the rate of electrical and/or structural remodeling, assessed by dominant frequency (DF) changes, determines the time at which AF becomes persistent.
Methods and Results—Self-sustained AF was induced by atrial tachypacing. Seven sheep were sacrificed 11.5±2.3 days after the transition to persistent AF and without reversal to sinus rhythm (SR); 7 sheep were sacrificed after 341.3±16.7 days of LS-PAF. Seven sham-operated animals were in SR for 1 year. DF was monitored continuously in each group. RT-PCR, western blotting, patch-clamping and histological analyses were used to determine changes in functional ion channel expression and structural remodeling. Atrial dilatation, mitral valve regurgitation, myocyte hypertrophy, and atrial fibrosis occurred progressively and became statistically significant after the transition to persistent AF, with no evidence for left ventricular dysfunction. DF increased progressively during the paroxysmal-to-persistent AF transition and stabilized when AF became persistent. Importantly, the rate of DF increase (dDF/dt) correlated strongly with the time to persistent AF. Significant action potential duration (APD) abbreviation, secondary to functional ion channel protein expression changes (CaV1.2, NaV1.5 and KV4.2 decrease; Kir2.3 increase), was already present at the transition and persisted for one-year follow up.
Conclusions—In the sheep model of LS-PAF, the rate of DF increase predicts the time at which AF stabilizes and becomes persistent, reflecting changes in APD and densities of sodium, L-type calcium and inward rectifier currents.
- Electrical Remodeling
- Action potential duration
- atrial dilatation
- myocyte hypertrophy
- atrial fibrillation
- ion channel
- dominant frequency
- Received June 27, 2013.
- Revision received January 5, 2014.
- Accepted January 13, 2014.