Hierarchy of ventricular pacemakers.
To characterize the pattern of pacemaker dominance in the ventricular specialized conduction system (VSCS), escape ventricular pacemakers were localized and quantified in vivo and in virto, in normal hearts and in hearts 24 hours after myocardial infarction. Excape pacemaker foci were localized in vivo during vagally induced atrial arrest by means of electrograms recorded from the His bundle and proximal bundle branches and standard electrocardiographic limb leads. The VSCS was isolated using a modified Elizari preparation or preparations of each bundle branch. Peacemakers were located by extra- and intracellular recordings. Escape pacemaker foci in vivo were always in the proximal conduction system, usually the left bundle branch. The rate was 43+/-11 (mean+/-SD) beats/min. After beta-adrenergic blockade, the mean rate fell to 31+/-10 beats/min, but there were no shifts in pacemaker location. In the infarcted hearts, pacemakers were located in the peripheral left bundle branch. The mean rate was 146+/-20 beats/min. In isolated normal preparations, the dominant pacemakers usually were in the His bundle, firing at a mean rate of 43+/-10 beats/min. The rates of pacemakers diminished with distal progression. In infarcted hearts, the pacemakers invariably were in the infarct zone. The mean firing rates were not influenced by beta-adrenergic blockade. The results indicate that the dominant pacemakers are normally in the very proximal VSCS, but after myocardial infarction pacemaker dominance is shifted into the infarct. Distribution of pacemaker dominance is independent of sympathetic influence.
- Copyright © 1976 by American Heart Association