The independent role of the aortic root ganglionated plexi in the initiation of atrial fibrillation: An experimental study

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The major atrial ganglionated plexi (GP) can initiate atrial fibrillation alone without any contribution from the extrinsic cardiac nervous system. However, if stimulation of the ventricular GP, especially the aortic root GP, can provoke atrial fibrillation (AF) alone is unknown. Our study was designed to investigate the independent role of aortic root GP activity in the initiation of AF.


In 10 Langendorff-perfused canine hearts, the atrial effective refractory period, pulmonary vein effective refractory period, and percentage of AF induced were measured at baseline and during aortic root GP stimulation.


Stimulation of the aortic root GP shortened the atrial effective refractory period from 128 ± 10 ms at baseline to 103 ± 15 ms (P < .05) and shortened the pulmonary vein effective refractory period from 139 ± 14 ms to 114 ± 15 ms (P < .05). Furthermore, the percentage of AF induced in the 10 isolated hearts increased from 10% at baseline to 90% during aortic root GP stimulation (P < .05).


In Langendorff-perfused canine hearts, stimulation of the aortic root GP provokes AF in the absence of any extrinsic cardiac nerve activity. The aortic root GP is an important element in the intrinsic neuronal loop that can increase the risk of AF in isolated heart models.

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