The Relationship between Atrioventricular Nodal Refractoriness and the Functional Refractory Period in the Dog

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We studied the relationship between the atrioventricular nodal functional refractory period (FRP) and refractoriness by mathematical analysis and by measurement during antegrade Wenckebach cycles in 16 dogs. The FRP relates directly to the conduction time of the control beat, and inversely to the coordinates of the point on the A′-H′ vs. A-A refractory curve where the slope is -1. The FRP can vary without any change in refractoriness as measured by the effective refractory period (ERP) or the refractory curve. In 16 dogs the ERP and the FRP were measured during 4:3 Wenckebach cycles. Because of changes in the control conduction times, the FRP declined and did not reflect the progressive increase in refractoriness recorded during Wenckebach cycles. The FRP is a complex parameter and does not reliably measure refractoriness. Circ Res 44: 121-126, 1979

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