Mechanisms of shock-induced arrhythmogenesis during acute global ischemia

Yuanna Cheng*, Kent A. Mowrey, Vladimir Nikolski, Patrick J. Tchou, Igor R. Efimov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Little is known about the mechanisms of vulnerability and defibrillation under ischemic conditions. We investigated these mechanisms in 18 Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts during 75% reduced-flow ischemia. Electrical activity was optically mapped from the anterior epicardium during right ventricular shocks applied at various phases of the cardiac cycle while the excitation-contraction decoupler 2,3-butanedione monoxime (BDM; 15 mM) was used to suppress motion artifacts caused by contraction of the heart. During ischemia, vulnerable window width increased [from 30-90% of the action potential duration (APD) in the control to - 10 to 100% of the APD in ischemia]. Moreover, arrhythmia severity increased along with the reduction of APD (176 ± 9 ms in control and 129 ± 26 ms in ischemia, P < 0.01) and increased dispersion of repolarization (45 ± 17 ms in control and 73 ± 28 ms in ischemia, P < 0.01). Shock-induced virtual electrode polarization was preserved. Depolarizing (contrary to hyperpolarizing) response time constants increased. Virtual electrode-induced wavefronts of excitation had much more tortuous pathways leading to wavefront fractionation. Defibrillation failure at all shock strengths was observed in four hearts. Optical mapping revealed that the shock extinguished the arrhythmia; however, the arrhythmia self-originated after an isoelectric window of 339 ± 189 ms. In conclusion, in most cases, virtual electrode-induced phase singularity (VEIPS) was responsible for shock-induced arrhythmogenesis during acute global ischemia. Enhancement of arrhythmogenesis was associated with an increased dispersion of repolarization and altered deexcitation. In four hearts, arrhythmogenesis could not be explained by VEIPS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2141-H2151
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6 51-6
StatePublished - 2002


  • Cardiac vulnerability
  • Defibrillation
  • Optical mapping
  • Voltage-sensitive dye

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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