Human ventricular fibrillation during global ischemia and reperfusion: paradoxical changes in activation rate and wavefront complexity.
Bradley CP., Clayton RH., Nash MP., Mourad A., Hayward M., Paterson DJ., Taggart P.
BACKGROUND: Ischemic ventricular fibrillation in experimental models has been shown to progress through a series of stages. Progression of ischemic VF in the in vivo human heart has not been determined. METHODS AND RESULTS: We studied 10 patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Ventricular fibrillation was induced by burst pacing. After 30 seconds, global myocardial ischemia was induced by aortic cross-clamp and maintained for 2.5 minutes, followed by coronary reflow. Epicardial activity was sampled (1 kHz) with a sock that contained 256 unipolar contact electrodes. Dominant frequencies were calculated with a fast Fourier transform with a moving window. The locations of phase singularities and activation wavefronts were identified at 10-ms intervals. Preischemic (perfused) ventricular fibrillation was maintained by a disorganized mix of large and small wavefronts. During global myocardial ischemia, mean dominant frequencies decreased from 6.4 to 4.7 Hz at a rate of -0.011±0.002 Hz s(-1) (P<0.001) and then increased rapidly to 7.4 Hz within 30 seconds of reflow. In contrast, the average number of epicardial phase singularities increased during ischemia from 7.7 to 9.7 at a rate of 0.013±0.005 phase singularities per second (P<0.01) and remained unchanged during reflow, at 10.3. The number of wavefronts showed a similar time course to the number of phase singularities. CONCLUSIONS: In human ventricular fibrillation, we found an increase in complexity of electric activation patterns during global myocardial ischemia, and this was not reversed during reflow despite an increase in activation rate.