Bioelectronic block of paravertebral sympathetic nerves mitigates post-myocardial infarction ventricular arrhythmias

Heart Rhythm. 2017 Nov;14(11):1665-1672. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2017.06.025. Epub 2017 Jun 16.


Background: Autonomic dysfunction contributes to induction of ventricular tachyarrhythmia (VT).

Objective: To determine the efficacy of charge-balanced direct current (CBDC), applied to the T1-T2 segment of the paravertebral sympathetic chain, on VT inducibility post-myocardial infarction (MI).

Methods: In a porcine model, CBDC was applied in acute animals (n = 7) to optimize stimulation parameters for sympathetic blockade and in chronic MI animals (n = 7) to evaluate the potential for VTs. Chronic MI was induced by microsphere embolization of the left anterior descending coronary artery. At termination, in anesthetized animals and following thoracotomy, an epicardial sock array was placed over both ventricles and a quadripolar carousel electrode positioned underlying the right T1-T2 paravertebral chain. In acute animals, the efficacy of CBDC carousel (CBDCC) block was assessed by evaluating cardiac function during T2 paravertebral ganglion stimulation with and without CBDCC. In chronic MI animals, VT inducibility was assessed by extrasystolic (S1-S2) stimulations at baseline and under >66% CBDCC blockade of T2-evoked sympathoexcitation.

Results: CBDCC demonstrated a current-dependent and reversible block without impacting basal cardiac function. VT was induced at baseline in all chronic MI animals. One animal died after baseline induction. Of the 6 remaining animals, only 1 was reinducible with simultaneous CBDCC application (P < .002 from baseline). The ventricular effective refractory period (VERP) was prolonged with CBDCC (323 ± 26 ms) compared to baseline (271 ± 32 ms) (P < .05).

Conclusions: Axonal block of the T1-T2 paravertebral chain with CBDCC reduced VT in a chronic MI model. CBDCC prolonged VERP, without altering baseline cardiac function, resulting in improved electrical stability.

Keywords: Arrhythmia; Axonal modulation therapy; Charge-balanced direct current; Myocardial infarction; Sympathetic efferent neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications*
  • Swine
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / etiology
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / therapy*