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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2000 Sep;89(3):1159-64.

Effects of anodal vs. cathodal pacing on the mechanical performance of the isolated rabbit heart.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Previous studies have suggested that anodal pacing enhances electrical conduction in the heart near the pacing site. It was hypothesized that enhanced conduction by anodal pacing would also enhance ventricular pressure in the heart. Left ventricular pressure measurements were made in isolated, Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts by means of a Millar pressure transducer with the use of a balloon catheter fixed in the left ventricle. The pressure wave was analyzed for maximum pressure (Pmax) generated in the left ventricle and the work done by the left ventricle (Parea). Eight hearts were paced with monophasic square-wave pulses of varying amplitudes (2, 4, 6, and 8 V) with 100 pulses of each waveform delivered to the epicardium. Anodal stimulation pulses showed statistically significant improvement in mechanical response at 2, 4, and 8 V. Relative to unipolar cathodal pacing, unipolar anodal pacing improved Pmax by 4.4 +/- 2.3 (SD), 5.3 +/- 3.1, 3.5 +/- 4.9, and 4.8 +/- 1.9% at 2, 4, 6, and 8 V, respectively. Unipolar anodal stimulation also improved Parea by 9.0 +/- 3.0, 12.0 +/- 6.0, 10.1 +/- 7.7, and 11.9 +/- 6.0% at 2, 4, 6, and 8 V, respectively. Improvements in Pmax and Parea indicate that an anodally paced heart has a stronger mechanical response than does a cathodally paced heart. Anodal pacing might be useful as a novel therapeutic technology to treat mechanically impaired or failed hearts.

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