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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006 Mar;290(3):H1298-306. Epub 2005 Oct 7.

Optical mapping of late myocardial infarction in rats.

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Heart and Vascular Research Center, MetroHealth Campus, Case Western Reserve University, 2500 MetroHealth Dr., Rammelkamp, 6th fl., Cleveland, Ohio 44109-1998, USA.


Late myocardial infarction (MI) is associated with ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. The exact mechanistic relationship between abnormal cellular electrophysiology, conduction abnormalities, and arrhythmogenesis associated with late MI is not completely understood. We report a novel, rapid dye superfusion technique to enable whole heart, high-resolution optical mapping of late MI. Optical mapping of action potentials was performed in normal rats and rats with anterior MI 7 days after left anterior descending artery ligation. Hearts from normal rats exhibited normal action potentials and impulse conduction. With the use of programmed stimulation to assess arrhythmia inducibility, 29% of hearts with late MI had inducible sustained ventricular tachycardia, compared with 0% in normal rats. A causal relationship between the site of infarction, abnormal action potential conduction (i.e., block and slow conduction), and arrhythmogenesis was observed. Optical mapping techniques can be used to measure high-resolution action potentials in a whole heart model of late MI. This experimental model reproduces many of the electrophysiological characteristics (i.e., conduction slowing, block, and ventricular tachycardia) associated with MI in patients. Importantly, the results of this study can enhance our ability to understand the interplay between cellular heterogeneity, conduction abnormalities, and arrhythmogenesis associated with MI.

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