Intrathoracic current flow during transthoracic defibrillation in dogs. Transcardiac current fraction.
To achieve transcardiac threshold current during transthoracic defibrillation, a considerably larger current must be delivered to the thorax to compensate for the shunting effect of the lungs, the thoracic cage, and other elements of the torso. This shunting effect is thus an important determinant of transthoracic defibrillation threshold and can be quantified by the transcardiac current fraction (FC, the ratio of transcardiac to transthoracic threshold currents). Previous estimates of FC have ranged from as low as 3% to as high as 45%. The purpose of of this study was to quantify both FC and the major intrathoracic current pathways. Transthoracic and intrathoracic voltages and currents were simultaneously measured during high-voltage transthoracic shocks in 20 dogs. With correction factors determined from another set of 12 dogs, these raw data were corrected to compensate for field distortion caused by the presence of the intrathoracic electrodes, and the adjusted data were fit to a resistive network model. The results showed that 82% of the transthoracic current was shunted by the thoracic cage, while 14% was shunted by the lungs. The remaining 4% (FC) is the portion that passed through the heart. There was good agreement between the two independent methods used to calculate FC. Analysis based on the model indicated that FC was 3.7%, whereas FC determined by direct measurement with calibrated electrodes was 4.2%. Therefore, the results of this study, in contrast to earlier estimates of FC, show that defibrillation in dogs is achieved by only 4% of the total transthoracic current.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association