Regional refractoriness within the ventricular conduction system. An evaluation of the "gate" hypothesis.
We studied the refractoriness of Purkinje fibers with the intent of localizing critical sites of block of premature impulses. To preserve the ventricular conducting system (VCS) nearly intact in vitro, we used a modification of the Elizari preparation. This was superfused with a physiologic salt solution. Action potential durations increased progressively from the His bundle to the distal Purkinje fibers along three pathways: (1) the main right bundle branch and moderator band; (2) the anterior border fibers of the left bundle and anterior false tendons; (3) the posterior border fibers of the left bundle and posterior false tendons. The action potential durations near the terminations of the false tendons were the longest ones found. The interior fibers of the left bundle branch had action potentials of shorter duration and greater variability than those of simultaneously activated fibers in the right bundle branch or the border fibers of the left bundle branch. Similarly, on the right side, the septal branches of the right bundle had action potentials of shorter duration than those of the moderator band. We also found that the fibers with short action potential durations provided the quickest pathways to septal myocardium. When extrastimuli were applied to the His bundle, block in a bundle branch always occurred in the proximal 1 or 2 cm of the main bundle branch. Experiments performed in vivo in which extrastimuli were delivered to the atrium or His bundle and recordings made from the terminations of false tendons and the distal ends of the main right bundle branch confirmed the finding that the critical sites of block were located in the proximal main bundle branches.
- Copyright © 1976 by American Heart Association