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Effect of Na+-channel blockade on the three-dimensional substrate of atrial fibrillation in a model of endo-epicardial dissociation and transmural conduction

Abstract : Aims Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a progressive arrhythmia characterized by structural alterations that increase its stability. Both clinical and experimental studies showed a concomitant loss of antiarrhythmic drug efficacy in later stages of AF. The mechanisms underlying this loss of efficacy are not well understood. We hypothesized that structural remodelling may explain this reduced efficacy by making the substrate more three-dimensional. To investigate this, we simulated the effect of sodium (Na þ)-channel block on AF in a model of progressive transmural uncoupling. In a computer model consisting of two cross-connected atrial layers, with realistic atrial membrane behaviour, structural remodelling was simulated by reducing the number of connections between the layers. 100% of endo-epicardial connectivity represented a healthy atrium. At various degrees of structural remodelling, we assessed the effect of 60% sodium channel block on AF stability, endo-epicardial electrical activity dissociation (EED), and fibrilla-tory conduction pattern complexity quantified by number of waves, phase singularities (PSs), and transmural conduction ('breakthrough', BT). Sodium channel block terminated AF in non-remodelled but not in remodelled atria. The temporal excitable gap (EG) and AF cycle length increased at all degrees of remodelling when compared with control. Despite an increase of EED and EG, sodium channel block decreased the incidence of BT because of trans-mural conduction block. Sodium channel block decreased the number of waves and PSs in normal atrium but not in structurally remodelled atrium. This simple atrial model explains the loss of efficacy of sodium channel blockers in terminating AF in the presence of severe structural remodelling as has been observed experimentally and clinically. Atrial fibrillation termination in atria with moderate structural remodelling in the presence of sodium channel block is caused by reduction of AF complexity. With more severe structural remodelling, sodium channel block fails to promote synchronization of the two layers of the model.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 4:27:56 PM
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Ali Gharaviri, Sander Verheule, Jens Eckstein, Mark Potse, Rolf Krause, et al.. Effect of Na+-channel blockade on the three-dimensional substrate of atrial fibrillation in a model of endo-epicardial dissociation and transmural conduction. EP-Europace, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy B, 2018, 20 (suppl 3), pp.iii69 - iii76. ⟨10.1093/europace/euy236⟩. ⟨hal-01933818⟩

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