Conduction Block Associated with Transient Depolarizations Induced by Acetylstrophanthidin in Isolated Canine Purkinje Fibers
Transient depolarizations (TDs) appeared in canine Purkinje tissue but not in cardiac muscle during exposure to 1-2 x 10-7 g/ml of acetylstrophanthidin. At low levels of toxicity, the TDs were associated with a decrease in threshold and an increase in automaticity. As intoxication progressed, the TDs coincided with transient periods of increased threshold and conduction block. Propagation from muscle to Purkinje tissue was blocked during, but not before or after, the crest of the TDs. As a result of the interaction between temporal and spatial (electrotonic) factors, various patterns of block, including unidirectional block, were observed. At moderate frequencies 2:1 block was demonstrated, but at faster rates 1:1 transmission occurred. At a later stage of toxicity, repetitive stimulation led to progressive depolarization in Purkinje tissue followed by a period of block during which slow repolarization eventually restored excitability and conductivity. In the whole heart, conduction block could permit reentry and could be responsible for the ultimate transition from ventricular tachycardia to ventricular fibrillation.
- cardiac glycosides
- decremental conduction
- Purkinje-muscle junction
- unidirectional block
- Received October 30, 1972.
- Accepted March 15, 1973.
- © 1973 American Heart Association, Inc.