Background: Heart failure increases autonomic nerve activities and changes intracellular calcium (Cai) dynamics. Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the hypothesis that abnormal Cai dynamics are responsible for triggered activity in the pulmonary veins (PVs) during acetylcholine infusion in a canine model of heart failure. Methods: Simultaneous optical mapping of Cai and membrane potential was performed in isolated Langendorff-perfused PV-left atrial (LA) preparations from nine dogs with ventricular pacing-induced heart failure. Mapping was performed at baseline, during acetylcholine (1 μmol/L) infusion (N = 9), and during thapsigargin and ryanodine infusion (N = 6). Results: Acetylcholine abbreviated the action potential. In four tissues, long pauses were followed by elevated diastolic Cai, late phase 3 early afterdepolarizations, and atrial fibrillation (AF). The incidence of PV focal discharges during AF was increased by acetylcholine from 2.4 ± 0.6 beats/s (N = 4) to 6.5 ± 2.2 beats/s (N = 8; P = .003). PV focal discharge and PV-LA microreentry coexisted in 6 of 9 preparations. The spatial distribution of dominant frequency demonstrated a focal source pattern, with the highest dominant frequency areas colocalized with PV focal discharge sites in 35 (95%) of 37 cholinergic AF episodes (N = 8). Thapsigargin and ryanodine infusion eliminated focal discharges in 6 of 6 preparations and suppressed the inducibility of AF in 4 of 6 preparations. PVs with focal discharge have higher densities of parasympathetic nerves than do PVs without focal discharges (P = .01), and periodic acid-Schiff (PAS)-positive cells were present at the focal discharge sites. Conclusion: Cai dynamics are important in promoting triggered activity during acetylcholine infusion in PVs from pacing-induced heart failure. PV focal discharge sites have PAS-positive cells and high densities of parasympathetic nerves.
- Heart failure