The excitable gap of a reentrant circuit has both temporal (time during the cycle length that the circuit is excitable) and spatial (length of the circuit that is excitable at a given time) properties. We determined the temporal and spatial properties of the excitable gap in reentrant circuits caused by nonuniform anisotropy. Myocardial infarction was produced in canine hearts by ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery. Four days later, reentrant circuits were mapped in the epicardial border zone of the infarcts with a multielectrode array during sustained ventricular tachycardia induced by programmed stimulation. During tachycardia, premature impulses were initiated by stimulation at sites around and in the reentrant circuits, and their conduction characteristics in the circuit were mapped. All circuits had a temporal excitable gap in at least part of the circuit, which allowed premature impulses to enter the circuit. Completely and partially excitable segments of the temporal gap were identified by measuring conduction velocity of the premature impulses; conduction was equal to the native reentrant wave front in completely excitable regions and slower than the reentrant wave front in partially excitable regions. In some circuits, a temporal gap existed throughout the circuit, permitting the entire circuit to be reset over a range of premature coupling intervals, although the size of the gap varied at different sites. In other circuits, the gap became so small at local sites that even though premature impulses could enter the circuit, the circuit could not be reset. Premature impulses could terminate reentry in circuits that could be reset or not. We also found a significant spatial gap, which was identified by determining the distance between the head of the circulating wave front, which could be located on the activation map, and its taft, which was the site most distal from the head as located by the site of entry of the premature wave front into the circuit. The spatial gap could also vary in different parts of the circuit. Therefore, nonuniform anisotropic reentrant circuits have both a temporal and spatial excitable gap with fully and partially excitable components that change in different parts of the circuit.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Excitable gap