Reentrant wave fronts in Wiggers' stage II ventricular fibrillation: Characteristics and mechanisms of termination and spontaneous regeneration

John J. Lee, Kamyar Kamjoo, Dustan Hough, Chun Hwang, Wei Fan, Michael C. Fishbein, Claudio Bonometti, Takanori Ikeda, Hrayr S. Karagueuzian, Peng Sheng Chen

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121 Scopus citations


The mechanisms of Wiggers' stage II ventricular fibrillation (VF) are poorly understood. Using computerized mapping techniques, we studied the patterns of activation during Wiggers' stage II VF in 13 open-chest dogs. In 7 of the 13 dogs, the right ventricular Purkinje fibers and adjacent subendocardial myocytes were ablated with Lugol solution. VF was induced electrically, and 3 to 5 seconds of data were obtained beginning ≃2.5 seconds after the onset of VF. Dynamic displays of the activation patterns and isochronal maps revealed the presence of reentrant wave fronts in 17 of 33 runs of VF in ablated ventricles and in 12 of 45 runs of VF in intact ventricles. The incidence of reentry was not different between the subendocardium-ablated group versus the nonablated group (1.7±1.6 versus 1.2±1.6 rotations per episode of VF, P=.19). There were no differences in the core size (25±19 versus 29±18 mm2), life span (3.4±1.1 versus 3.2±1.2 rotations), or cycle length (111±12 versus 107±8 ms) in ablated ventricles versus intact ventricles, respectively. The core was unstable as it meandered within the mapped area displacing the entire reentrant wave front. In all episodes, the reentrant wave fronts were spontaneously initiated by an interaction between two propagating wave fronts roughly perpendicular to each other. The second wave front met the tail of the first wave front 69±11 ms (range, 40 to 90 ms) after its latest activation, indicating that the interaction occurred during a vulnerable period. The reentrant wave fronts terminated spontaneously (n=7), as the result of interference by an invading wave front (n=19), or meandered off the mapped region (n=3). We conclude the following: (1) Reentrant activities with short life spans and meandering cores are present during Wiggers' stage II VF in dogs. (2) New reentrant wave fronts are generated when one wave front interacts with another wave front during its vulnerable period. (3) The reentrant wave fronts terminate spontaneously or as the result of interference. (4) Chemical subendocardial ablation does not affect the incidence, life span, cycle length, or core size of the reentrant wave fronts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660-675
Number of pages16
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Purkinje fibers
  • core
  • spiral wave
  • sudden cardiac death
  • vulnerable period


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