Study of the time-relationship of the mechano-electrical interaction in an animal model of tetralogy of Fallot: implications for the risk assessment of ventricular arrhythmias

Bove T, Alipour Symakani R, Verbeke J, Vral A, El Haddad M, De Wilde H, Stroobandt R, De Pooter J.
Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2020 Apr 3. pii: ivaa047. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivaa047. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 32243531
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Objectives: The long-term outcome of tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is determined by progressive right ventricular (RV) dysfunction through pulmonary regurgitation (PR) and the risk of malignant arrhythmia. Although mechano-electrical coupling in TOF is well-known, its time effect on the inducibility of arrhythmia remains ill-defined. The goal of this study was to investigate the mechano-electrical properties at different times in animals with chronic PR.

Methods: PR was induced by a transannular patch with limited RV scarring in infant pigs. Haemodynamic assessment included biventricular pressure-volume loops after 3 (n = 8) and 6 months (n = 7) compared to controls (n = 5). The electrophysiological study included endocardial monophasic action potential registration, intraventricular conduction velocity and induction of ventricular arrhythmia by burst pacing.

Results: Progressive RV dilation was achieved at 6 months (RV end-diastolic volume 143 ± 13 ml/m2-RV end-systolic volume 96 ± 7 ml/m2; P < 0.001), in association with depressed RV contractility (preload recruitable stroke work-slope: 19 ± 1 and 11 ± 3 for control and 6 m; P < 0.001) and left ventricular contractility (preload recruitable stroke work-slope: 60 ± 13 and 40 ± 11 for control and 6 m; P = 0.005). Concomitant to QRS prolongation, monophasic action potential90-duration and dispersion at the RV and left ventricle were increased at 6 months. Intraventricular conduction was delayed only in the RV at 6 months (1.8 ± 0.2 and 2.4 ± 0.6 m/s for group 6M and the control group; P = 0.035). Sustained ventricular arrhythmias were not inducible.

Conclusions: In animals yielding the sequelae of a contemporary operation for TOF, mechano-electrical alterations are progressive and affect predominantly the RV after midterm exposure of PR. Because ventricular arrhythmias were not inducible despite significant RV dilation, the data suggest that the haemodynamic RV deterioration effectively precedes the risk of inducing sustained arrhythmia after TOF repair and opens a window for renewed stratification of contemporary risk factors of ventricular arrhythmias in patients operated on with currently used pulmonary valve- and RV-related techniques.