Prolonged action potential duration and dynamic transmural action potential duration heterogeneity underlie vulnerability to ventricular tachycardia in patients undergoing ventricular tachycardia ablation

Europace. 2019 Apr 1;21(4):616-625. doi: 10.1093/europace/euy260.


Aims: Differences of action potential duration (APD) in regions of myocardial scar and their borderzones are poorly defined in the intact human heart. Heterogeneities in APD may play an important role in the generation of ventricular tachycardia (VT) by creating regions of functional block. We aimed to investigate the transmural and planar differences of APD in patients admitted for VT ablation.

Methods and results: Six patients (median age 53 years, five male); (median ejection fraction 35%), were studied. Endocardial (Endo) and epicardial (Epi) 3D electroanatomic mapping was performed. A bipolar voltage of <0.5 mV was defined as dense scar, 0.5-1.5 mV as scar borderzone, and >1.5 mV as normal. Decapolar catheters were positioned transmurally across the scar borderzone to assess differences of APD and repolarization time (RT) during restitution pacing from Endo and Epi. Epi APD was 173 ms in normal tissue vs. 187 ms at scar borderzone and 210 ms in dense scar (P < 0.001). Endocardial APD was 210 ms in normal tissue vs. 222 ms in the scar borderzone and 238 ms in dense scar (P < 0.01). This resulted in significant transmural RT dispersion (ΔRT 22 ms across dense transmural scar vs. 5 ms in normal transmural tissue, P < 0.001), dependent on the scar characteristics in the Endo and Epi, and the pacing site.

Conclusion: Areas of myocardial scar have prolonged APD compared with normal tissue. Heterogeneity of regional transmural and planar APD result in localized dispersion of repolarization, which may play an important role in initiating VT.

Keywords: Action potential duration; Dispersion of repolarization; Transmural dispersion of repolarization; Ventricular tachycardia.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / complications
  • Cardiomyopathies / complications
  • Catheter Ablation*
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / physiopathology*
  • Defibrillators, Implantable
  • Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac
  • Endocardium / physiopathology*
  • Epicardial Mapping
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / complications
  • Myocarditis / complications
  • Myocardium
  • Pericardium / physiopathology*
  • Recurrence
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / etiology
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / physiopathology
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / surgery*
  • Time Factors