Repolarization changes underlying long-term cardiac memory due to right ventricular pacing noninvasive mapping with electrocardiographic imaging

Scott B. Marrus, Christopher M. Andrews, Daniel H. Cooper, Mitchell N. Faddis, Yoram Rudy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background-Cardiac memory refers to the observation that altered cardiac electrical activation results in repolarization changes that persist after the restoration of a normal activation pattern. Animal studies, however, have yielded disparate conclusions, both regarding the spatial pattern of repolarization changes in cardiac memory and the underlying mechanisms. The present study was undertaken to produce 3-dimensional images of the repolarization changes underlying long-term cardiac memory in humans. Methods and Results-Nine adult subjects with structurally normal hearts and dual-chamber pacemakers were enrolled in the study. Noninvasive electrocardiographic imaging was used before and after 1 month of ventricular pacing to reconstruct epicardial activation and repolarization patterns. Eight subjects exhibited cardiac memory in response to ventricular pacing. In all subjects, ventricular pacing resulted in a prolongation of the activation recovery interval (a surrogate for action potential duration) in the region close to the site of pacemaker-induced activation from 228.4±7.6 ms during sinus rhythm to 328.3±6.2 ms during cardiac memory. As a consequence, increases are observed in both apical-basal and right-left ventricular gradients of repolarization, resulting in a significant increase in the dispersion of repolarization. Conclusions-These results demonstrate that electrical remodeling in response to ventricular pacing in human subjects results in action potential prolongation near the site of abnormal activation and a marked dispersion of repolarization. This dispersion of repolarization is potentially arrhythmogenic and, intriguingly, was less evident during continuous right ventricular pacing, suggesting the novel possibility that continuous right ventricular pacing at least partially suppresses pacemaker-induced cardiac memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-781
Number of pages9
JournalCirculation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012


  • Action potentials
  • Cardiac memory
  • Pacemakers
  • Remodeling
  • T-wave memory


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