Mechanism of reentry induction by a 9-V battery in rabbit ventricles

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2014 Apr 1;306(7):H1041-53. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00591.2013. Epub 2014 Jan 24.


Although the application of a 9-V battery to the epicardial surface is a simple method of ventricular fibrillation induction, the fundamental mechanisms underlying this process remain unstudied. We used a combined experimental and modelling approach to understand how the interaction of direct current (DC) from a battery may induce reentrant activity within rabbit ventricles and its dependence on battery application timing and duration. A rabbit ventricular computational model was used to simulate 9-V battery stimulation for different durations at varying onset times during sinus rhythm. Corresponding high-resolution optical mapping measurements were conducted on rabbit hearts with DC stimuli applied via a relay system. DC application to diastolic tissue induced anodal and cathodal make excitations in both simulations and experiments. Subsequently, similar static epicardial virtual electrode patterns were formed that interacted with sinus beats but did not induce reentry. Upon battery release during diastole, break excitations caused single ectopics, similar to application, before sinus rhythm resumed. Reentry induction was possible for short battery applications when break excitations were slowed and forced to take convoluted pathways upon interaction with refractory tissue from prior make excitations or sinus beats. Short-lived reentrant activity could be induced for battery release shortly after a sinus beat for longer battery applications. In conclusion, the application of a 9-V battery to the epicardial surface induces reentry through a complex interaction of break excitations after battery release with prior induced make excitations or sinus beats.

Keywords: bidomain; cardiac modeling; optical mapping; reentry; ventricular fibrillation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Diastole
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electric Power Supplies*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology*
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology*
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Pericardium / physiopathology*
  • Rabbits
  • Refractory Period, Electrophysiological
  • Tachycardia, Reciprocating / etiology
  • Tachycardia, Reciprocating / physiopathology*
  • Time Factors
  • Voltage-Sensitive Dye Imaging