Discordant Alternans as a Mechanism for Initiation of Ventricular Fibrillation In Vitro.
ABSTRACT: Background Ventricular tachyarrhythmias are often preceded by short sequences of premature ventricular complexes. In a previous study, a restitution-based computational model predicted which sequences of stimulated premature complexes were most likely to induce ventricular fibrillation in canines in vivo. However, the underlying mechanism, based on discordant-alternans dynamics, could not be verified in that study. The current study seeks to elucidate the mechanism by determining whether the spatiotemporal evolution of action potentials and initiation of ventricular fibrillation in in vitro experiments are consistent with model predictions. Methods and Results Optical mapping voltage signals from canine right-ventricular tissue (n=9) were obtained simultaneously from the entire epicardium and endocardium during and after premature stimulus sequences. Model predictions of action potential propagation along a 1-dimensional cable were developed using action potential duration versus diastolic interval data. The model predicted sign-change patterns in action potential duration and diastolic interval spatial gradients with posterior probabilities of 91.1%, and 82.1%, respectively. The model predicted conduction block with 64% sensitivity and 100% specificity. A generalized estimating equation logistic-regression approach showed that model-prediction effects were significant for both conduction block ( P<1×10-15, coefficient 44.36) and sustained ventricular fibrillation ( P=0.0046, coefficient, 1.63) events. Conclusions The observed sign-change patterns favored discordant alternans, and the model successfully identified sequences of premature stimuli that induced conduction block. This suggests that the relatively simple discordant-alternans-based process that led to block in the model may often be responsible for ventricular fibrillation onset when preceded by premature beats. These observations may aid in developing improved methods for anticipating block and ventricular fibrillation.
Project description:Sudden cardiac arrest is a widespread cause of death in the industrialized world. Most cases of sudden cardiac arrest are due to ventricular fibrillation (VF), a lethal cardiac arrhythmia. Electrophysiological abnormalities such as alternans (a beat-to-beat alternation in action potential duration) and conduction block have been suspected to contribute to the onset of VF. This study focuses on the use of control-systems techniques to analyze and design methods for suppressing these precursor factors. Control-systems tools, specifically controllability analysis and Lyapunov stability methods, were applied to a two-variable Karma model of the action-potential (AP) dynamics of a single cell, to analyze the effectiveness of strategies for suppressing AP abnormalities. State-feedback-integral (SFI) control was then applied to a Purkinje fiber simulated with the Karma model, where only one stimulating electrode was used to affect the system. SFI control converted both discordant alternans and 2:1 conduction block back toward more normal patterns, over a wider range of fiber lengths and pacing intervals compared with a Pyragas-type chaos controller. The advantages conferred by using feedback from multiple locations in the fiber, and using integral (i.e., memory) terms in the controller, are discussed.
Project description:Cardiac electrical alternans (CEA), manifested as T-wave alternans in ECG, is a clinical biomarker for predicting cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death. However, the mechanism underlying the spontaneous transition from CEA to arrhythmias remains incompletely elucidated. In this study, multiscale rabbit ventricular models were used to study the transition and a potential role of INa in perpetuating such a transition. It was shown CEA evolved into either concordant or discordant action potential (AP) conduction alternans in a homogeneous one-dimensional tissue model, depending on tissue AP duration and conduction velocity (CV) restitution properties. Discordant alternans was able to cause conduction failure in the model, which was promoted by impaired sodium channel with either a reduced or increased channel current. In a two-dimensional homogeneous tissue model, a combined effect of rate- and curvature-dependent CV broke-up alternating wavefronts at localised points, facilitating a spontaneous transition from CEA to re-entry. Tissue inhomogeneity or anisotropy further promoted break-up of re-entry, leading to multiple wavelets. Similar observations have also been seen in human atrial cellular and tissue models. In conclusion, our results identify a mechanism by which CEA spontaneously evolves into re-entry without a requirement for premature ventricular complexes or pre-existing tissue heterogeneities, and demonstrated the important pro-arrhythmic role of impaired sodium channel activity. These findings are model-independent and have potential human relevance.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Alternans have been associated with the development of ventricular fibrillation and its control has been proposed as antiarrhythmic strategy. However, cardiac arrhythmias are a spatiotemporal phenomenon in which multiple factors are involved (e.g. calcium and voltage spatial alternans or heterogeneous conduction velocity) and how an antiarrhythmic drug modifies these factors is poorly understood. OBJECTIVE:The objective of the present study is to evaluate the relation between spatial electrophysiological properties (i.e. spatial discordant alternans and conduction velocity) and the induction of ventricular fibrillation (VF) when a calcium blocker is applied. METHODS:The mechanisms of initiation of VF were studied by simultaneous epicardial voltage and calcium optical mapping in isolated rabbit hearts using an incremental fast pacing protocol. The additional value of analyzing spatial phenomena in the generation of unidirectional blocks and reentries as precursors of VF was depicted. Specifically, the role of action potential duration (APD), calcium transients (CaT), spatial alternans and conduction velocity in the initiation of VF was evaluated during basal conditions and after the administration of verapamil. RESULTS:Our results enhance the relation between (1) calcium spatial alternans and (2) slow conduction velocities with the dynamic creation of unidirectional blocks that allowed the induction of VF. In fact, the administration of verapamil demonstrated that calcium and not voltage spatial alternans were the main responsible for VF induction. CONCLUSIONS:VF induction at high activation rates was linked with the concurrence of a low conduction velocity and high magnitude of calcium alternans, but not necessarily related with increases of APD. Verapamil can postpone the development of cardiac alternans and the apparition of ventricular arrhythmias.
Project description:Mechanisms of ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF) in patients with heart failure (HF) are undefined.The purpose of this study was to elucidate VT/VF mechanisms in HF by using a computational-clinical approach.In 53 patients with HF and 18 control patients, we established the relationship between low-amplitude action potential voltage alternans (APV-ALT) during ventricular pacing at near-resting heart rates and VT/VF on long-term follow-up. Mechanisms underlying the transition of APV-ALT to VT/VF, which cannot be ascertained in patients, were dissected with multiscale human ventricular models based on human electrophysiological and magnetic resonance imaging data (control and HF).For patients with APV-ALT k-score >1.7, complex action potential duration (APD) oscillations (?2.3% of mean APD), rather than APD alternans, most accurately predicted VT/VF during long-term follow-up (+82%; -90% predictive values). In the failing human ventricular models, abnormal sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium handling caused APV-ALT (>1 mV) during pacing with a cycle length of 550 ms, which transitioned into large magnitude (>100 ms) discordant repolarization time alternans (RT-ALT) at faster rates. This initiated VT/VF (cycle length <400 ms) by steepening apicobasal repolarization (189 ms/mm) until unidirectional conduction block and reentry. Complex APD oscillations resulted from nonstationary discordant RT-ALT. Restoring SR calcium to control levels was antiarrhythmic by terminating electrical alternans.APV-ALT and complex APD oscillations at near-resting heart rates in patients with HF are linked to arrhythmogenic discordant RT-ALT. This may enable novel physiologically tailored, bioengineered indices to improve VT/VF risk stratification, where SR calcium handling and spatial apicobasal repolarization are potential therapeutic targets.
Project description:Cardiac arrhythmias are common causes of death in patients with myotonic dystrophy (dystrophia myotonica [DM]). Evidence shows that atrial tachyarrhythmia is an independent risk factor for sudden death; however, the relationship is unclear.Control wild-type (Mbnl1+/+; Mbnl2+/+ ) and DM mutant (Mbnl1-/-; Mbnl2+/- ) mice were generated by crossing double heterozygous knockout (Mbnl1+/-; Mbnl2+/- ) mice. In vivo electrophysiological study and optical mapping technique were performed to investigate mechanisms of ventricular tachyarrhythmias. Transmission electron microscopy scanning was performed for myocardium ultrastructural analysis. DM mutant mice were more vulnerable to anesthesia medications and program electrical pacing: 2 of 12 mice had sudden apnea and cardiac arrest during premedication of general anesthesia; 9 of the remaining 10 had atrial tachycardia and/or atrioventricular block, but none of the wild-type mice had spontaneous arrhythmias; and 9 of 10 mice had pacing-induced ventricular tachyarrhythmias, but only 1 of 14 of the wild-type mice. Optical mapping studies revealed prolonged action potential duration, slower conduction velocity, and steeper conduction velocity restitution curves in the DM mutant mice than in the wild-type group. Spatially discordant alternans was more easily inducible in DM mutant than wild-type mice. Transmission electron microscopy showed disarranged myofibrils with enlarged vacuole-occupying mitochondria in the DM mutant group.This DM mutant mouse model presented with clinical myofibril ultrastructural abnormality and cardiac arrhythmias, including atrial tachyarrhythmias, atrioventricular block, and ventricular tachyarrhythmias. Optical mapping studies revealed prolonged action potential duration and slow conduction velocity in the DM mice, leading to vulnerability of spatially discordant alternans and ventricular arrhythmia induction to pacing.
Project description:Alternans is a beat-to-beat alternation of the cardiac action potential duration (APD) or intracellular calcium (Ca(i)) transient. In cardiac tissue, alternans can be spatially concordant or discordant, of which the latter has been shown to increase dispersion of repolarization and promote a substrate for initiation of ventricular fibrillation. Alternans has been studied almost exclusively under constant cycle length pacing conditions. However, heart rate varies greatly on a beat-by-beat basis in normal and pathological conditions. The purpose of this study was to determine if applying a repetitive but non-constant pacing pattern, specifically cycle length oscillation (CLO), promotes or suppresses a proarrhythmic substrate. We performed computational simulations and optical mapping experiments to investigate the potential consequences of CLO. In a single cell computational model, CLO induced APD and Ca(i) alternans, which became "phase-matched" with the applied oscillation. As a consequence of the phase-matching, in one-dimensional cable simulations, neonatal rat ventricular myocyte monolayers, and isolated adult guinea pig hearts CLO could transiently induce spatial and electromechanical discordant alternans followed by a steady-state of concordance. Our results demonstrated that under certain conditions, CLO can initiate ventricular fibrillation in the isolated hearts. On the other hand, CLO can also exert an antiarrhythmic effect by converting an existing state of discordant alternans to concordant alternans.
Project description:Several studies have shown the beneficial effect of renal denervation (RDN) in the treatment of ventricular arrhythmia, especially in the setting of heart failure (HF). However, the underlying mechanism of antiarrhythmic effect of RDN is unknown. Arrhythmogenic cardiac alternans, particularly spatially discordant repolarization alternans, characterized by simultaneous prolongation and shortening of action potential duration (APD) in different myocardial regions, is central to the genesis of ventricular fibrillation in HF. Whether RDN decreases the susceptibility to arrhythmogenic cardiac alternans in HF has never been addressed before. The authors used a rat model of post-myocardial infarction HF and dual voltage-calcium optical mapping to investigate whether RDN could attenuate arrhythmogenic cardiac alternans that predisposes to ventricular arrhythmias, as well as the hemodynamic effect of RDN in HF. The HF rats had increased body weights, dilated hearts, and lower blood pressure. The HF rats also had longer ventricular APDs and a delay in the decay of the calcium transient, typical electrophysiological features of human HF. Susceptibility to calcium transient alternans, APD alternans, and spatially discordant APD alternans was increased in the HF hearts. RDN significantly attenuated a delay in the decay of the calcium transient, calcium transient and APD alternans, and importantly, the discordant APD alternans, and thereby decreased the incidence of induced ventricular arrhythmia in HF. RDN did not further decrease blood pressure in HF rats. In conclusion, RDN improves calcium cycling and prevents spatially discordant APD alternans and ventricular arrhythmia in HF. RDN does not aggravate hemodynamics in HF.
Project description:Ventricular arrhythmia is an important cause of late death in patients with repaired tetralogy of Fallot (rTOF). By using an rTOF canine model, we investigated the role of repolarization alternans and its electrophysiological mechanisms.Six dogs received right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT) transannular patch, pulmonary valve destruction, and right bundle branch ablation to simulate rTOF. After 1 year, we performed high-resolution dual-voltage and calcium optical mapping to record action potentials and calcium transients on the excised right ventricular outflow tract wedges. Another 6 dogs without operation served as control. The rTOF group was more susceptible to action potential duration alternans (APD-ALT) and spatially discordant APD-ALT than control (threshold for APD-ALT: 516±36 vs 343±36 ms; P=0.017; threshold for discordant APD-ALT: 387±30 vs 310±14 ms; P=0.046). We detected 2 episodes of ventricular tachycardia in the rTOF group, but none in the control. Expressions of Kv4.3 and KChIP2 decreased in the rTOF group. Expression of connexin 43 also decreased in the rTOF group with a corresponding decrease of conduction velocity and might contribute to spatially discordant APD-ALT. We also found distinct electrophysiological features of the RVOT, including biphasic relationship between magnitude of APD-ALT and pacing cycle length, uncoupling of APD-ALT, and calcium transients alternans, and shortened APD, but unchanged, APD restitution in rTOF.We demonstrated novel electrophysiological properties of the RVOT. In an rTOF model, the RVOT exhibits increased susceptibility to temporal and spatially discordant APD-ALT, which was not totally dependent on calcium transient alternans.
Project description:The mechanisms of J wave syndrome (JWS) are incompletely understood. Here, we showed that the concomitant activation of small-conductance calcium-activated potassium (SK) current (IKAS) and inhibition of sodium current by cyclohexyl-[2-(3,5-dimethyl-pyrazol-1-yl)-6-methyl-pyrimidin-4-yl]-amine (CyPPA) recapitulate the phenotypes of JWS in Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts. CyPPA induced significant J wave elevation and frequent spontaneous ventricular fibrillation (SVF), as well as sinus bradycardia, atrioventricular block, and intraventricular conduction delay. IKAS activation by CyPPA resulted in heterogeneous shortening of action potential (AP) duration (APD) and repolarization alternans. CyPPA inhibited cardiac sodium current (INa) and decelerated AP upstroke and intracellular calcium transient. SVFs were typically triggered by short-coupled premature ventricular contractions, initiated with phase 2 reentry and originated more frequently from the right than the left ventricles. Subsequent IKAS blockade by apamin reduced J wave elevation and eliminated SVF. ?-Adrenergic stimulation was antiarrhythmic in CyPPA-induced electrical storm. Like CyPPA, hypothermia (32.0°C) also induced J wave elevation and SVF. It facilitated negative calcium-voltage coupling and phase 2 repolarization alternans with spatial and electromechanical discordance, which were ameliorated by apamin. These findings suggest that IKAS activation contributes to the development of JWS in rabbit ventricles.
Project description:Background: Following myocardial infarction (MI), the myocardium is prone to calcium-driven alternans, which typically precedes ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation. MI is also associated with remodeling of the sympathetic innervation in the infarct border zone, although how this influences arrhythmogenesis is controversial. We hypothesize that the border zone is most vulnerable to alternans, that β-adrenergic receptor stimulation can suppresses this, and investigate the consequences in terms of arrhythmogenic mechanisms. Methods and Results: Anterior MI was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 8) and allowed to heal over 2 months. This resulted in scar formation, significant (p < 0.05) dilation of the left ventricle, and reduction in ejection fraction compared to sham operated rats (n = 4) on 7 T cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Dual voltage/calcium optical mapping of post-MI Langendorff perfused hearts (using RH-237 and Rhod2) demonstrated that the border zone was significantly more prone to alternans than the surrounding myocardium at longer cycle lengths, predisposing to spatially heterogeneous alternans. β-Adrenergic receptor stimulation with norepinephrine (1 μmol/L) attenuated alternans by 60 [52-65]% [interquartile range] and this was reversed with metoprolol (10 μmol/L, p = 0.008). These results could be reproduced by computer modeling of the border zone based on our knowledge of β-adrenergic receptor signaling pathways and their influence on intracellular calcium handling and ion channels. Simulations also demonstrated that β-adrenergic receptor stimulation in this specific region reduced the formation of conduction block and the probability of premature ventricular activation propagation. Conclusion: While high levels of overall cardiac sympathetic drive are a negative prognostic indicator of mortality following MI and during heart failure, β-adrenergic receptor stimulation in the infarct border zone reduced spatially heterogeneous alternans, and prevented conduction block and propagation of extrasystoles. This may help explain recent clinical imaging studies using meta-iodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) and 11C-meta-hydroxyephedrine positron emission tomography (PET) which demonstrate that border zone denervation is strongly associated with a high risk of future arrhythmia.