Stimulatory Current at the Edge of an Inactive Conductor in an Electric Field: Role of Nonlinear Interfacial Current-Voltage Relationship

Academic Article


  • Cardiac electric field stimulation is critical for the mechanism of defibrillation. The presence of certain inactive epicardial conductors in the field during defibrillation can decrease the defibrillation threshold. We hypothesized this decrease is due to stimulatory effects of current across the interface between the inactive conductor and the heart during field stimulation. To examine this current and its possible stimulatory effects, we imaged transmittance of indium-tin-oxide (ITO) conductors, tested for indium with X-ray diffraction, created a computer model containing realistic ITO interfacial properties, and optically mapped excitation of rabbit heart during electric field stimulation in the presence of an ITO conductor. Reduction of indium decreased transmittance at the edge facing the anodal shock electrode when trans-interfacial voltage exceeded standard reduction potential. The interfacial current-voltage relationship was nonlinear, producing larger conductances at higher currents. This nonlinearity concentrated the interfacial current near edges in images and in a computer model. The edge current was stimulatory, producing early postshock excitation of rabbit ventricles. Thus, darkening of ITO indicates interfacial current by indium reduction. Interfacial nonlinearity concentrates current near the edge where it can excite the heart. Stimulatory current at edges may account for the reported decrease in defibrillation threshold by inactive conductors. © 2010, IEEE. All rights reserved.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sims JA; Pollard AE; White PS; Knisley SB
  • Start Page

  • 442
  • End Page

  • 449
  • Volume

  • 57
  • Issue

  • 2