Spatial heterogeneity of action potential alternans during global ischemia in the rabbit heart

You Wen Qian, Ruey J. Sung, Shien Fong Lin, Rose Province, William T. Clusin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Cardiac ischemia causes beat-to-beat fluctuation in action potential duration (APD) alternans, which leads to T wave alternans and arrhythmias. Occurrence of APD alternans that is out of phase at two sites is especially important, but most APD alternans studies have involved rapid pacing of normal myocardium rather than ischemia. To determine the spatial features of APD alternans during ischemia, blood-perfused rabbit hearts were stained with 4-[β-[2(di-n-butylamino)-6-napthyl]vinyl}pyridinium (di-4-ANEPPS) and imaged with a high-resolution camera. Hearts were perfused with oxygenated Tyrode solution at 37°C for staining and then switched to a 50:50% blood/Tyrode mixture. Hearts were paced from the right ventricle at 3/s, and made ischemic by stopping flow for 6 min. Images of 10,000 pixels were obtained at 300 frames/s. Motion artifact was controlled by immobilization and by manual selection of undistorted single-pixel records. Upstroke propagation and conduction isochrones were displayed by computerized image processing. APD alternans was demonstrated in six of seven hearts, and was out of phase in different regions of the image in three hearts. The largest spatial variation in the onset of depolarization to 50% repolarization (APD50) was 155%. This caused beat-to-beat reversal of repolarization. An alternans map could be constructed for well-immobilized portions of the image. There were discrete regions of APD alternans separated by a boundary, as occurs with intracellular Ca2+ concentration alternans. Pixels as close together as 1.1 mm showed an APD alternans that was out of phase. The out-of-phase APD alternans was not due to conduction alternans, as shown by upstroke intervals and conduction isochrones. This contrasts with rapid pacing, where a causal relationship appears to exist. These new observations suggest distinct mechanisms for the genesis of arrhythmias during ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2722-H2733
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6 54-6
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • 4-{β-[2(di-n-butylamino)-6-napthyl]vinyl}pyridinium
  • Arrhythmias
  • Fluorescence imaging
  • Myocardium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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