This study examined factors determining efficacy of intracavitary cardioversion of atrial tachyarrhythmias in closed chest, anesthetized dogs with talc pericarditis. Electrode catheters were positioned transvenously with the cathode in the right atrial appendage. In Group 1 dogs (n = 6), three anode sites (superior and inferior venae cavae ostia and mid-right atrium) were tested with graded energy shocks to determine the lowest effective cardioversion energy at each anode position. In Group 2 dogs (n = 9), multiple cardioversion attempts with energy levels of 0.01 to 5.0 J were used to evaluate reproducibility of energy thresholds. In Group 3 dogs (n = 6) without talc-induced pericarditis, atrial pathologic study was done after five intracavitary shocks (0.5 or 5.0 J). In Group 1, cardioversion was achieved with 0.75 J or less with no significant difference in minimal effective cardioversion energies among the three anode positions tested. In Group 2, 98 (26%) of 372 cardioversion attempts were successful. Intra-animal minimal effective cardioversion energies varied widely, and timing of shocks relative to atrial electrograms did not influence efficacy. Complications were infrequent and included delayed sinus rhythm recovery, transient atrioventricular block and ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation occurred in 9 (2.4%) of 372 shocks, and was associated with higher delivered energies (6 of 9 with ≥ 1.0 J) and with shocks delivered 116 to 180 ms after onset of the QRS complex. In Group 3, two dogs had no histologic damage, three dogs had multiple small foci of subendocardial necrosis and in one dog these foci coalesced to involve half the atrial wall thickness. Thus, low energy cardioversion of atrial tachyarrhythmias is feasible using intracavitary electrodes. Synchronization of energy delivery to the QRS complex is important to minimize risk of ventricular fibrillation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
From the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics and Surgery, Umverslly of Minnesota MedIcal School, Minneapolis, Minnesota. The studIes re• poned here were supported in part by National Research Service Awards (NRSA) HL-07D47 (Dr. Dunbar) and HL-06593 (Dr. Tobler) and by Re• search Grant HL-29460 (Dr. Bendltt) from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, and by a Grant-in-Aid from the Medtronic Foun• datIon, MInneapolis, Minnesota. This work was completed in part dunng Dr. Benditt's tenure as an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association, Dallas, Texas.