Interaction of Acute Ventricular Dilatation and d-Sotalol During Sustained Reentrant Ventricular Tachycardia Around a Fixed Obstacle

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Antiarrhythmic therapy of ventricular tachycardia is associated with decreased efficacy and increased proarrhythmia in patients with congestive heart failure, but the explanation for these observations is not known. This study examined the interaction of ventricular dilatation and d-sotalol in a model of reentry ventricular tachycardia.

Methods and Results

Thin epicardial layers of anisotropic myocardium were created in Langendorff-perfused rabbit left ventricles by a cryoprocedure. A fluid-filled, latex balloon was secured within the left ventricle to change ventricular volume. Sustained reentrant ventricular tachycardia, around a central cryolesion, was induced by rapid pacing in all preparations (n=7). Epicardial mapping was performed through 248 electrodes. Single premature beats introduced within the reentry circuit were used to define the excitable gap. Dilatation did not influence ventricular tachycardia cycle length or conduction velocity. A 1.25-mL increase in left ventricular volume widened the excitable gap by 12% (range, 5% to 29%) (P < .001) because of a decrease in myocardial refractoriness. d-Sotalol (final concentration, 10 mg/L) narrowed the excitable gap 18%(range, 7% to 29%) (P = .002) in the undilated left ventricle. d-Sotalol was less effective in the dilated left ventricle, narrowing the excitable gap only 9%, a difference that was not statistically significant. During pacing to induce or terminate tachycardia, tachycardia acceleration was observed significantly more frequently in the dilated than in the undilated ventricle. Ventricular tachycardia acceleration was due to the development of double-wave reentry (two successive waves traveling in the same circuit in the same direction). d-Sotalol, which narrowed the excitable gap, prevented tachycardia acceleration and double-wave reentry.


Antiarrhythmic efficacy may be decreased by dilatation because of a widening of the initial excitable gap and a decrease in the gap-narrowing effect of these agents. Double- wave reentry, more likely with a widening of excitable gap, may partially explain tachycardia acceleration in the dilated ventricle.

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