Prolonged Transient Atrial Electrical Silence Following Termination of Chronic Atrial Tachyarrhythmias

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


IntroductionAtrial standstill is a rare heterogeneous arrhythmia characterized by electrical and mechanical standstill and electrical inexcitability. A long-lasting progressive form is seen with cardiac and neuromuscular diseases, and a familial or idiopathic form may have a genetic basis. A transient form was described secondary to drug intoxication, electrolyte imbalance, cardiac inflammation, and ischemia.MethodsWe investigated three patients with long-standing atrial tachyarrhythmia (AT) (atrial flutter in two, and focal atrial tachycardia in one). All patients underwent a complete electrophysiological study with mapping of right and left atrial activity and radiofrequency ablation (RF Abl) of AT.ResultsFollowing RF Abl of AT, all three patients manifested transient atrial electrical silence in the absence of known reversible causes. Atrial electrical silence was observed when, following AT termination, an escape atrioventricular (AV) junctional rhythm (in two patients) and an escape VVI pacemaker rhythm (in one patient) showed transient ventriculo-atrial (VA) conduction block (up to 30 seconds). A dominant sinus rhythm was observed to return 30 minutes, 90 minutes, and 12 hours, respectively, in the three patients. Two patients received a dual chamber pacemaker and a decision was made not to upgrade the patient with VVI pacemaker.Discussion and ConclusionsThe present report expands the spectrum of the syndrome of atrial standstill and raises interesting questions regarding possible electrophysiologic mechanism(s) of prolonged post overdrive atrial standstill. The report suggests that chronic overdrive of sinus and subsidiary atrial pacemakers may result in calcium overloading of cardiac cells, which is known to cause suppression of pacemaker activity as well as increased intracellular resistance. These mechanisms can possibly result in either prolonged suppression of sinus and atrial pacemaker activity and/or pacemaker exit block.

    loading  Loading Related Articles