Premature beats elicit a phase reversal of mechanoelectrical alternans in cat ventricular myocytes. A possible mechanism for reentrant arrhythmias

D S Rubenstein, S L Lipsius


Alternans of the ST segment of the ECG is an important risk factor for sudden cardiac death. Premature beats during alternans and the development of discordant alternans are associated with the onset of ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. Moreover, premature beats can switch the pattern of alternans from discordant to concordant alternans. The mechanisms of how a premature beat can elicit a pattern shift in alternans and develop malignant ventricular arrhythmias are not clear. The purpose of this cellular study was to determine the electrical and mechanical restitution properties during cycle length-induced alternans and to determine how premature and delayed beats affect the resultant phase of alternans. A perforated patch recording method and video-based edge detector were used to record action potentials and contractions, respectively, from single ventricular myocytes enzymatically isolated from the cat heart. Electrical and mechanical restitution curves were determined by programmed test beats delivered at different cycle lengths during mechanoelectrical alternans. At 35 degrees C, 97.8% of cells exhibited concordant cellular alternans (action potentials with the larger action potential duration [APD] were...Continue Reading


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