Spatial distribution and frequency dependence of arrhythmogenic vagal effects in canine atria

Oleg F. Sharifov, Alexey V. Zaitsev, Leonid V. Rosenshtraukh, Alexandr Y. Kaliadin, Galina G. Beloshapko, Anna V. Yushmanova, Richard B. Schuessler, John P. Boineau

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Arrhythmogenic Vagal Effects in Dog Atria. Introduction: Prior studies in isolated canine atria demonstrated that acetylcholine-induced reentrant atrial fibrillation (AF) was triggered by multifocal activity in the area of normal impulse origin (sinus node-crista terminalis). The aim of this study was to investigate the activation sequence in AF induced by vagal stimulation (VS) in intact dog hearts. Methods and Results: VS (10 to 50 Hz, 1 msec, 15 V, 5-sec trains) induced single or multiple atrial premature depolarizations (APDs), and/or AF in 8 of 10 open chest dogs. Occurrence of APDs and AF increased with increasing VS intensity. Epicardial mapping (254 unipolar electrodes) of both atria showed that APDs as a rule emerged from ectopic sites, often from the right atrial appendage. Activation mapping of the first 10 cycles of AF showed that only a small number (< 3 to 4) of unstable reentrant circuits were possible at the same moment. Moreover, most sustained VS-induced AFs were accounted for by a single leading stable reentrant circuit that activated the remainder of the atria. Conclusion: (1) Occurrence of vagally induced APDs and AF increases with increasing frequency of VS. (2) VS-induced focal ectopic APDs are widely distributed over the atria. (3) A single APD can be sufficient for initiation of reentrant AF. (4) Despite its high rate of sustained AF, it may be maintained by single stable reentrant circuit. (5) The atrial septum can play an important role in both the initiation and the maintenance of VS-induced AF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1042
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of cardiovascular electrophysiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2000


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Latent pacemakers
  • Mapping
  • Septum
  • Vagus


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