Asymmetric thickness of the left ventricular wall resulting from asynchronous electric activation: a study in dogs with ventricular pacing and in patients with left bundle branch block

Am Heart J. 1995 Nov;130(5):1045-53. doi: 10.1016/0002-8703(95)90207-4.


Various kinds of abnormal, asynchronous electric activation of the left ventricle (LV) decrease mechanical load in early versus late activated regions of the ventricular wall. Because myocardium usually adapts its mass to changes in workload, we investigated by echocardiography whether regional differences in wall thickness are present in two kinds of asynchronous electric activation of different origin and conduction pathway: epicardial ventricular pacing in dogs and left bundle branch block (LBBB) in patients. In six dogs, 3 months of epicardial LV pacing at physiologic heart rates decreased the thickness of the early activated anterior wall by 20.5 +/- 8.1% without significantly changing LV cavity area and septal thickness. In a retrospective study of 228 LBBB patients, the early activated septum was significantly thinner than the late activated posterior wall. The asymmetry most pronounced was as large as 10% in 28 patients with LBBB and paradoxic septal motion. No difference in regional wall thickness was present in 154 control patients. In conclusion, chronic asynchronous electric activation in the heart induces redistribution of cardiac mass. This redistribution occurs in hearts, which differ in impulse conduction pathway, disease, and species and is characterized by thinning of early versus late activated myocardium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Atrophy
  • Bundle-Branch Block / diagnostic imaging
  • Bundle-Branch Block / pathology
  • Bundle-Branch Block / physiopathology*
  • Cardiac Pacing, Artificial*
  • Dogs
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart / innervation*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Heart Ventricles
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies