Directional differences in excitability and margin of safety for propagation in sheep ventricular epicardial muscle.
Computer simulations and isolated tissue experiments were used to characterize the relation between excitability and margin of safety for propagation in anisotropic ventricular myocardium. Longitudinal, uniform transverse, and nonuniform transverse tissue directions were modeled in a one-dimensional Beeler-Reuter based cable. Stimulation threshold was smallest in the nonuniform transverse direction. The safety factor for propagation was determined in the model as the total axial charge that was available for depolarizing downstream tissue divided by the threshold charge that was just sufficient for continued propagation and was largest in the longitudinal direction. The strength-interval plot for the junction between simulated longitudinal and nonuniform transverse directions identified a range of stimulus strengths and intervals that resulted in nonuniform transverse but not longitudinal propagation. When high values of transverse resistance were used, higher stimulus strengths during premature stimulation resulted in longitudinal but not nonuniform transverse propagation. The experimental strength interval plots from 17 L-shaped preparations of isolated sheep epicardial muscles had similar characteristics. In nine additional L-shaped tissue experiments, changing extracellular K+ concentrations from 4 to 20 mM resulted in progressive membrane depolarization and conduction impairment in both directions. However, in eight of nine experiments, complete block occurred first in the transverse direction. In one experiment, block was simultaneous in both directions. We conclude that, under normal conditions, threshold requirements for active propagation are lower for transverse than for longitudinal propagation. In addition, when active membrane properties are impaired, the safety factor for propagation is larger in the direction along the longitudinal axis of the cells.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association