Interaction of sequential stimuli applied during the relative refractory period in relation to determination of fibrillation threshold in the canine ventricle.
An ineffective stimulus applied to cardiac tissue within the relative refractory period can alter the response to an immediately subsequent stimulus. We observed three response patterns that can coexist at different sites of stimulation in the same heart. In the first pattern, a stimulus of two to ten times diastolic threshold, applied too early to elicit a propagated response, becomes effective when a stimulus of equal strength is delivered 10 msec earlier. In the second pattern, a stimulus applied just late enough to evoke a response fails to do so when a stimulus of equal strenght precedes it by as much as 30 msec. Finally, in the third pattern, two stimuli, separated by 10 msec, both of which are late enough to be effective when they are given alone, fail to yield a propagated response when they are applied together. These results have a bearing on the use of trains of stimuli to assess the ventricular fibrillation threshold. Possible interpretations are based on the temporal dispersion of recovery from the refractory state.
- Copyright © 1975 by American Heart Association