Novel insights into the substrate involved in maintenance of ventricular fibrillation: results from continuous multipolar mapping in a canine model

Fatima M. Ezzeddine, Robert C. Ward, Zhi Jiang, Jason A. Tri, Kolade Agboola, Tiffany Hu, Fahad Lodhi, Nicholas Y. Tan, Thomas P. Ladas, Georgios Christopoulos, Alan M. Sugrue, Elena G. Tolkacheva, Freddy Del Carpio Munoz, Christopher J. McLeod, Samuel J. Asirvatham, Christopher V. DeSimone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: While the triggers for ventricular fibrillation (VF) are well-known, the substrate required for its maintenance remains elusive. We have previously demonstrated dynamic spatiotemporal changes across VF from electrical induction of VF to asystole. Those data suggested that VF drivers seemed to reside in the distal RV and LV. However, signals from these areas were not recorded continuously. The aim of this study was to map these regions of significance with stationary basket electrodes from induction to asystole to provide further insights into the critical substrate for VF rhythm sustenance in canines. Methods: In six healthy canines, three multipolar basket catheters were positioned in the distal right ventricle (RV), RV outflow tract, and distal left ventricle (LV), and remained in place throughout the study. VF was induced via direct current application from an electrophysiologic catheter. Surface and intracardiac electrograms were recorded simultaneously and continuously from baseline, throughout VF, and until asystole, in order to get a complete electrophysiologic analysis of VF. Focused data analysis was also performed via two defined stages of VF: early VF (immediately after induction of VF to 10 min) and late VF (after 10 min up to VF termination and asystole). Results: VF was continuously mapped for a mean duration of 54 ± 9 min (range 42–70 min). Immediately after initiation of VF in the early phase, the distal LV region appeared to drive the maintenance of VF. Towards the terminal stage of VF, the distal RV region appeared to be responsible for VF persistence. In all canines, we noted local termination of VF in the LV, while VF on surface ECG continued; conversely, subsequent spontaneous termination of VF in the RV was associated with termination of VF on surface ECG into a ventricular escape rhythm. Continuous mapping of VF showed trends towards an increase in peak-to-peak ventricular electrogram cycle length (p = 0.06) and a decrease in the ventricular electrogram amplitude (p = 0.06) after 40 min. Once we could no longer discern surface QRS activity, we demonstrated local ventricular myocardial capture in both the RV and LV but could not reinitiate sustained VF despite aggressive ventricular burst pacing. Conclusions: This study describes the evolution of VF from electrical initiation to spontaneous VF termination without hemodynamic support in healthy canines. These data are hypothesis-generating and suggest that critical substrate for VF maintenance may reside in both the distal RV and LV depending on stage of VF. Further studies are needed to replicate these findings with hemodynamic support and to translate such findings into clinical practice. Graphical abstract: Ventricular fibrillation maintenance may be dependent on critical structures in the distal RV. ECG: electrocardiogram; LV: left ventricle; RV: right ventricle; RVOT: right ventricular outflow tract; VF: ventricular fibrillation [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Animals
  • His-Purkinje system
  • Mapping
  • Right ventricle
  • Ventricular fibrillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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