Injury current and gradients of diastolic stimulation threshold, TQ potential, and extracellular potassium concentration during acute regional ischemia in the isolated perfused pig heart.
During acute regional myocardial ischemia, a "current of injury" flows between the ischemic and the normal tissue. Its direction and magnitude change during the cardiac cycle. During diastole, the injury current flows intracellularly from the ischemic cells toward the normal cells and tends to depolarize the latter. The gain insight into the possible role of the injury current in arrhythmogenesis, we simultaneously determined diastolic stimulation threshold, [K+]o and TQ potential at multiple sites closely spaced across the cyanotic border in Langendorff-perfused pig hearts during the first 10 minutes after occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery. The position of the electrodes relative to the border was validated by their response to 1) regional ischemia and 2) selective perfusion with a high-K+ perfusate of the left anterior descending coronary artery. A temporary decrease of diastolic stimulation threshold preceded a rapid increase in the central ischemic zone; a lasting reduction (by +/- 20%) without a concomitant increase of [K+]o was observed at seven sites (of 39 sites tested), five of which were less than 2 mm outside the electrophysiological border. Moreover, up to 4 mm inside the electrophysiological border, a similar lasting decrease of diastolic stimulation threshold was accompanied by a moderate increase of [K+]o. We conclude that 1) the injury current causes increased excitability in normal tissue close to the "ischemic" border and 2) increased excitability related to a moderately increased [K+]o may persist up to 10 minutes of ischemia at the ischemic side of the border. Both factors may facilitate the induction of life-threatening arrhythmias in acute myocardial ischemia.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association