Atrioatrial conduction after orthotopic heart transplantation

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1994 Jul;24(1):185-9. doi: 10.1016/0735-1097(94)90561-4.


Objectives: In two patients with orthotopic heart transplantation, the surface electrocardiogram suggested interaction between the donor right atrium and the recipient right atrium. An electrophysiologic investigation was performed to assess possible atrioatrial conduction.

Background: After orthotopic heart transplantation, both recipient and donor atrial activities are usually independent, but in humans they may synchronize for short periods during exercise.

Methods: Electrophysiologic recordings were made using standard techniques. The atrial electrode locations (anterior for the donor and posterior for the recipient right atria) were confirmed by fluoroscopy. Incremental and programmed donor and recipient right atrial pacing protocols were performed.

Results: Unidirectional conduction between native and graft atria occurred in both patients. This phenomenon was evident at rest, during normal sinus rhythm and at various pacing rates, resulting in frequent atrial bigeminy and trigeminy.

Conclusions: Possible atrioatrial conduction after orthotopic heart transplantation may potentially be arrhythmogenic for the chamber where extrasystoles occur. This should be taken into account in attempting to devise new pacing modes if both atria are rendered electrically common.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiac Complexes, Premature / etiology
  • Cardiac Complexes, Premature / physiopathology
  • Cardiac Pacing, Artificial / statistics & numerical data
  • Electrocardiography / statistics & numerical data
  • Electrophysiology
  • Heart Atria / physiopathology
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology*
  • Heart Transplantation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Time Factors