Susceptibility of hypertrophied rat hearts to ventricular fibrillation during acute ischemia

Tetsuro Kohya, Shinichi Kimura, Robert J. Myerburg, Arthur L. Bassett

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57 Scopus citations


This study compared arrhythmias induced by acute ischemia in Langendorff preparations of normal and hypertrophied rat hearts. Left ventricular pressure overload was induced by partial ligation of the abdominal aorta 6 to 8 weeks prior to study. The ratio of left ventricular weight to body weight (LVW/BW) and systolic blood pressure (SBP) were significantly higher in two groups of rats with hypertrophied hearts (moderate hypertrophy: 2.68±0.06 mg/g, 182±3 mm Hg; severe hypertrophy: 3.31±0.03 mg/g, 238±5 mmHg) than in normal hearts (2.18±0.03 mg/g, 125±3 mmHg), while there were no differences in body weights. During 30 min of ischemia produced by left coronary artery occlusion in the Langendorff preparations, ventricular fibrillation occurred in six of 20 (30%) normal, six of nine (67%) moderately hypertrophied, and 14 of 14 (100%) severely hypertrophied preparations (P<0.001 normal vs severely hypertrophied). Tachyarrhythmias occurred in 15 of 20 (75%) normal, eight of nine (89%) moderately hypertrophied, and 14 of 14 (100%) severely hypertrophied hearts. Heart rate and coronary efflux before and during the ischemic period did not differ between normal and hypertrophied hearts. The ratio of non-perfused to perfused areas of the left ventricle, measured by Evans blue dye staining and with computerized planimetry, also was not different for normal (57.6±2.3%) and hypertrophied hearts (moderate hypertrophy 62.5±3.3%, and severe hypertrophy 59.1±2.0%). Additional control studies using larger hearts from older rats also indicate that myocardial mass was not an important determinant of ischemic arrhythmias in hypertrophy. Prolongation of endocardial and epicardial conduction time during 30 min of ischemia was not different between normal and hypertrophied hearts. Action potential duration and refractory periods were significantly longer in ventricular cells of hypertrophied hearts than in normals, and superfusion with hypoxia/zero glucose solution shortened these parameters to a greater extent in hypertrophied cells. These results lead us to conclude that hypertrophied hearts have a greater susceptibility to ventricular fibrillation during acute ischemia, and that dispersion of refractoriness may play a role in this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-168
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1988


  • Action potentia
  • Cardiac hypertrophy
  • Conduction time
  • Ischemia
  • Refractory period
  • Ventricular fibrillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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