Ventricular fibrillation during acute coronary occlusion is related to the dilation of the ischemic region
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Myocardial stretch induces several electrophysiological changes and arrhythmias, but little is known on its possible role in triggering ventricular fibrillation (VF) during acute coronary occlusion. In thiopental-anesthetized, open-chest pigs submitted to a 40-min ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery, the association between the early increase in end-diastolic length (measured by means of ultrasonic crystals) in the ischemic region and subsequent VF was analyzed. Animals received no treatment (n = 35) or intravenous nitroglycerin (2.5 μg/kg/min for 20 min, starting 10 min after coronary occlusion, n = 8) or Gd3+ (80 μM/kg for 35 min, starting 5 min before occlusion, n = 15). Twenty-four animals (41 %) had VF, 16 to 39 min after coronary occlusion. The magnitude of ischemic dilation and the incidence of VF were similar among groups. End-diastolic length in the ischemic region 15 min after coronary occlusion was 115.7 ± 1.2 % of baseline in animals with VF and 111.4 ± 0.9 % in those without (P = 0.007), and was the strongest predictor of this arrhythmia (P = 0.003) after adjusting for treatment and other possible confounding variables. Thus, the dilation of the ischemic region is closely and independently associated with VF following coronary occlusion. Although the interventions tested in the present study failed to protect against this arrhythmia, the results strongly suggest an influence of ischemic dilation on VF.
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