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Europace. 2005 Sep;7 Suppl 2:146-54.

Electroporation of the heart.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.


Defibrillation shocks are commonly used to terminate life-threatening arrhythmias. According to the excitation theory of defibrillation, such shocks are aimed at depolarizing the membranes of most cardiac cells resulting in resynchronization of electrical activity in the heart. If shock-induced changes in transmembrane potential are large enough, they can cause transient tissue damage due to electroporation. In this review evidence is presented that (a) electroporation of the heart tissue can occur during clinically relevant intensities of the external electrical field, and (b) electroporation can affect the outcome of defibrillation therapy; being both pro- and anti-arrhythmic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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