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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2005 Sep;289(3):H1054-68. Epub 2005 May 6.

Mechanisms of enhanced shock-induced arrhythmogenesis in the rabbit heart with healed myocardial infarction.

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Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Desk FF10, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


Shock-induced vulnerability and defibrillation have been mostly studied in structurally normal hearts. However, defibrillation therapy is normally applied to patients with diseased hearts, frequently those with prior myocardial infarction (MI). Shock-induced vulnerability and defibrillation have not been well studied under this condition. We sought to examine the mechanisms of shock-induced arrhythmogenesis and arrhythmia maintenance in a rabbit model of healed MI (4 wk or more postinfarction). Ligation of the lateral division or posterolateral division of the left coronary artery at a level of 40-70% from the apex was performed 53 +/- 21 days before acute experiments. Shock-induced vulnerability was assessed in infarcted (n = 8) and structurally normal (n = 8) hearts by delivering internal monophasic shocks at different shock strengths and delivery phases. Electrical activities from the anterior epicardium during shock application and during shock-induced arrhythmias were optically recorded and quantitatively analyzed. Ligation resulted in a transmural left ventricular free wall infarction mainly located at the apical region with a consistent endocardial border zone (BZ) as confirmed by histological studies. There were significant increases in the incidence, severity, and duration of shock-induced arrhythmias in the infarcted hearts versus controls due to 1) postshock break-excitation wavefronts that frequently originated near the infarction BZ and 2) the existence of an infarction BZ that created an anatomic reentry pathway and facilitated arrhythmia maintenance. In conclusion, the infarction BZ contributes to both increased shock-induced arrhythmogenesis and arrhythmia maintenance in the rabbit model of healed MI.

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