[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anisotropy creates nonuniformity in electrical propagation and may contribute to the occurrence of unidirectional conduction block and reentry. We describe the characteristics of reentrant tachycardia in a 2D layer of anisotropic ventricular myocardium.
A Langendorff-perfused epicardial sheet (1.0+/-0.4 mm, n=35) was created by freezing the intramural layers of the rabbit left ventricle. Epicardial activation maps were constructed by use of different high-resolution mapping arrays connected to a mapping system. In 5 experiments, monophasic action potentials were recorded. In the intact left ventricle, no arrhythmias except VF could be induced. After freezing, programmed electrical stimulation or rapid pacing led to the induction of sustained VT (cycle length 130+/-11 ms). VT was caused by reentry around a functional line of block oriented parallel to the epicardial fiber direction. Action potential recordings demonstrated that the central line of block was kept refractory by electrotonic currents generated by the depolarization waves propagating at either side of the line of block. At the pivot points of the line of block, the pronounced curvature of the turning wave and abrupt loading changes created an excitable gap of 30 ms in the reentrant pathway.
In uniform anisotropic myocardium, reentry around a functional Z-shaped line of block may occur. The core of the circuit is kept refractory by electrotonic currents. The pronounced wave-front curvature and abrupt loading changes at the pivot points cause local conduction delay and create a small excitable gap.