Epicardial Substrate as a Target for Radiofrequency Ablation in an Experimental Model of Early Repolarization Syndrome

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2018 Sep;11(9):e006511. doi: 10.1161/CIRCEP.118.006511.


Background: Early repolarization syndrome (ERS) is an inherited cardiac arrhythmia syndrome associated with sudden cardiac death. Approaches to therapy are currently very limited. This study probes the mechanisms underlying the electrocardiographic and arrhythmic manifestation of experimental models of ERS and of the ameliorative effect of radiofrequency ablation.

Methods: Action potentials, bipolar electrograms, and transmural pseudo-ECGs were simultaneously recorded from coronary-perfused canine left ventricular wedge preparations (n=11). The Ito agonist NS5806 (7-10 μmol/L), calcium channel blocker verapamil (3 μmol/L), and acetylcholine (1-3 μmol/L) were used to pharmacologically mimic the effects of genetic defects associated with ERS.

Results: The provocative agents induced prominent J waves in the ECG secondary to accentuation of the action potential notch in epicardium but not endocardium. Bipolar recordings displayed low-voltage fractionated potentials in epicardium because of temporal and spatial variability in appearance of the action potential dome. Concealed phase 2 reentry developed when action potential dome was lost at some epicardial sites but not others, appearing in the bipolar electrogram as discrete high-frequency spikes. Successful propagation of the phase 2 reentrant beat precipitated ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation. Radiofrequency ablation of the epicardium destroyed the cells displaying abnormal repolarization and thus suppressed the J waves and the development of ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation in 6/6 preparations.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that low-voltage fractionated electrical activity and high-frequency late potentials recorded from the epicardial surface of the left ventricle can identify regions of abnormal repolarization responsible for ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation in ERS and that radiofrequency ablation of these regions in left ventricular epicardium can suppress ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation by destroying regions of ER.

Keywords: cardiac arrhythmia; electrophysiology; sudden cardiac death; ventricular fibrillation; ventricular tachycardia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials*
  • Animals
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dogs
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac
  • Female
  • Heart Rate*
  • Male
  • Pericardium / physiopathology
  • Pericardium / surgery*
  • Syndrome
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / physiopathology
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / surgery*
  • Time Factors
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / surgery*