Termination of 'ventricular' arrhythmias from digoxin by selective production of complete atrioventricular block with physostigmine in the dog

Academic Article


  • In previous studies we have come to doubt that ventricular rhythms of an automatic nature will arise spontaneously from the peripheral Purkinje system. In 20 anesthetized dogs, digoxin was administered i.v. (0.1-1.0 mg/kg) and in 12 dogs by selectively perfusing the atrioventricular (AV) node artery (2 ml; 40 μg/ml). We obtained the following results. First selective pharmacological production of complete AV block (acetylcholine or physostigmine) interrupts the 'ventricular' arrhythmias considered characteristic of digitalis intoxication. Second, digitalis arrhythmias are difficult to produce when this type of complete heart block had been previously established. Third, abolition of ventricular arrhythmias by selective pharmacological production of heart block can be reversed (i.e., the arrhythmia restored) with atropine. Fourth, rapid pacing of the ventricles during complete heart block in dogs poisoned with digitalis can eventually induce ventricular arrhythmias, but not quickly. It is suggested that these digitalis arrhythmias originated within the acetylcholine-sensitive portion of the AV node-His bundle region.
  • Author List

  • James TN; Urthaler F; Lewis RK
  • Start Page

  • 561
  • End Page

  • 570
  • Volume

  • 211
  • Issue

  • 3