Reversal of repolarization gradient does not reverse the chirality of shock-induced reentry in the rabbit heart

Yuanna Cheng, Vladimir Nikolski, Igor R. Efimov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Introduction: Two hypotheses have been proposed to explain the mechanisms of vulnerability and related failure of defibrillation therapy: the cross-field-induced critical point hypothesis and the virtual electrode-induced phase singularity hypothesis. These two hypotheses predict the opposite effect of preshock repolarization on the chirality (direction of rotation) of shock-induced reentry. The former suggests its reversal upon reversal of repolarization, whereas the latter suggests its preservation. The aim of this study was to determine, by reversing the repolarization sequence, which of the mechanisms is responsible for internal shock-induced arrhythmia in the Langendorff-perfused rabbit heart. Methods and Results: We used high-resolution optical mapping to assess the chirality of postshock reentry in 11 hearts. Hearts were paced at a coupling interval of 300 msec at various sites around the field of view (13.5 x 13.5 to 16.5 x 16.5 mm). Cathodal monophasic implantable cardioverter defibrillator shocks (-100 V, 8 msec) were applied during the T wave from a 10-mm coil electrode placed into the right ventricular cavity. We used 3.5 ± 0.8 different pacing sites per heart. Change in direction of repolarization did not result in change of chirality. Chirality was constant in all 11 hearts despite the complete reversal of activation and repolarization patterns. However, the position of resulting vortices depended on transmembrane polarization gradient VV(m) and amplitude of negative polarization V(m) (deexcitation). Stronger gradients and deexcitation produced earlier epicardlal break excitation (P = 0.04 and P < 0.0001, respectively). Conclusion: Virtual electrode-induced phase singularity mechanism underlies internal shock-induced arrhythmia in this model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)998-1007
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of cardiovascular electrophysiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2000


  • Arrhythmia
  • Defibrillation
  • Optical mapping
  • Reentry
  • Scroll wave
  • Vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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