Mechanisms of long-duration ventricular fibrillation in human hearts and experimental validation in canine Purkinje fibers

Academic Article


  • Objectives This study sought to determine the characteristics of human LDVF, particularly as it contrasts with short-duration VF (SDVF), and evaluate the role of Purkinje fibers in its maintenance. Background The electrophysiological mechanisms of long-duration ventricular fibrillation (LDVF) have not been studied in the human heart. Methods VF was induced in 12 human Langendorff hearts, and the hearts were examined from initiation to LDVF (10 min). Endocardial, epicardial, and transmural plunge needle mapping were performed on the hearts. Simulated LDVF was studied in canine hearts to determine the potential role of Purkinje fiber automaticity. Results The mean age at transplant was 48 ± 20 years, and the mean ejection fraction was <20%. The mean cycle length of local activation times on the endocardium was 252 ± 66 ms in SDVF and 441 ± 80 ms in LDVF (p = 0.0002). On the endocardium and the epicardium in LDVF, cycle length was 441 ± 80 ms and 590 ± 88 ms, respectively (p = 0.0002). No endocardial to epicardial activation frequency gradient was seen in SDVF. Simultaneous transmural needle activation was most common in SDVF, whereas endocardial to epicardial activation was most common in LDVF (47.7% and 38.8% of activations, respectively [p = 0.031]). Re-entry was less common in LDVF, and over time, wave break (i.e., nontransmural propagation of wave fronts) developed. Isochronal maps of the left ventricular endocardium in LDVF identified Purkinje potentials as preceding and predominating endocardial activations. In explanted canine heart preparations, rapid pacing led to spontaneous Purkinje fiber activity that was dependent on pacing rate and duration. Conclusions LDVF in human hearts is characterized by focal endocardial activity with mid-myocardial wave break and not by re-entry. This arrhythmia is modulated by rapid activations in early VF that lead to spontaneous Purkinje fiber activity.
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  • Jackson N; Massé S; Zamiri N; Azam MA; Lai PFH; Kusha M; Asta J; Quadros K; King B; Backx P
  • Start Page

  • 187
  • End Page

  • 197
  • Volume

  • 1
  • Issue

  • 3