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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012 Aug 15;303(4):H439-49. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.01121.2011. Epub 2012 Jun 22.

Electroporation induced by internal defibrillation shock with and without recovery in intact rabbit hearts.

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Department of Molecular Cardiology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


Defibrillation shocks from implantable cardioverter defibrillators can be lifesaving but can also damage cardiac tissues via electroporation. This study characterizes the spatial distribution and extent of defibrillation shock-induced electroporation with and without a 45-min postshock period for cell membranes to recover. Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts (n = 31) with and without a chronic left ventricular (LV) myocardial infarction (MI) were studied. Mean defibrillation threshold (DFT) was determined to be 161.4 ± 17.1 V and 1.65 ± 0.44 J in MI hearts for internally delivered 8-ms monophasic truncated exponential (MTE) shocks during sustained ventricular fibrillation (>20 s, SVF). A single 300-V MTE shock (twice determined DFT voltage) was used to terminate SVF. Shock-induced electroporation was assessed by propidium iodide (PI) uptake. Ventricular PI staining was quantified by fluorescent imaging. Histological analysis was performed using Masson's Trichrome staining. Results showed PI staining concentrated near the shock electrode in all hearts. Without recovery, PI staining was similar between normal and MI groups around the shock electrode and over the whole ventricles. However, MI hearts had greater total PI uptake in anterior (P < 0.01) and posterior (P < 0.01) LV epicardial regions. Postrecovery, PI staining was reduced substantially, but residual staining remained significant with similar spacial distributions. PI staining under SVF was similar to previously studied paced hearts. In conclusion, electroporation was spatially correlated with the active region of the shock electrode. Additional electroporation occurred in the LV epicardium of MI hearts, in the infarct border zone. Recovery of membrane integrity postelectroporation is likely a prolonged process. Short periods of SVF did not affect electroporation injury.

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