Constant DI pacing suppresses cardiac alternans formation in numerical cable models

S. Zlochiver, C. Johnson, E. G. Tolkacheva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Cardiac repolarization alternans describe the sequential alternation of the action potential duration (APD) and can develop during rapid pacing. In the ventricles, such alternans may rapidly turn into life risking arrhythmias under conditions of spatial heterogeneity. Thus, suppression of alternans by artificial pacing protocols, or alternans control, has been the subject of numerous theoretical, numerical, and experimental studies. Yet, previous attempts that were inspired by chaos control theories were successful only for a short spatial extent (<2 cm) from the pacing electrode. Previously, we demonstrated in a single cell model that pacing with a constant diastolic interval (DI) can suppress the formation of alternans at high rates of activation. We attributed this effect to the elimination of feedback between the pacing cycle length and the last APD, effectively preventing restitution-dependent alternans from developing. Here, we extend this idea into cable models to study the extent by which constant DI pacing can control alternans during wave propagation conditions. Constant DI pacing was applied to ventricular cable models of up to 5 cm, using human kinetics. Our results show that constant DI pacing significantly shifts the onset of both cardiac alternans and conduction blocks to higher pacing rates in comparison to pacing with constant cycle length. We also demonstrate that constant DI pacing reduces the propensity of spatially discordant alternans, a precursor of wavebreaks. We finally found that the protective effect of constant DI pacing is stronger for increased electrotonic coupling along the fiber in the sense that the onset of alternans is further shifted to higher activation rates. Overall, these results support the potential clinical applicability of such type of pacing in improving protocols of implanted pacemakers, in order to reduce the risk of life-threatening arrhythmias. Future research should be conducted in order to experimentally validate these promising results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number093903
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


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