Author(s): Yan GX, Antzelevitch C
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Abstract BACKGROUND: This study probes the cellular basis for the T wave under baseline and long-QT (LQT) conditions using an arterially perfused canine left ventricular (LV) wedge preparation, which permits direct temporal correlation of cellular transmembrane and ECG events. METHODS AND RESULTS: Floating microelectrodes were used to record transmembrane action potentials (APs) simultaneously from epicardial, M-region, and endocardial sites or subendocardial Purkinje fibers. A transmural ECG was recorded concurrently. Under baseline and LQT conditions, repolarization of the epicardial action potential, the earliest to repolarize, coincided with the peak of the T wave; repolarization of the M cells, the last to repolarize, coincided with the end of the T wave. Thus, the action potential duration (APD) of the longest M cells determine the QT interval and the Tpeak-Tend interval serves as an index of transmural dispersion of repolarization. Repolarization of Purkinje fibers outlasted that of the M cell but failed to register on the ECG. The morphology of the T wave appeared to be due to currents flowing down voltage gradients on either side of the M region during phase 2 and phase 3 of the ventricular action potential. The interplay between these opposing forces determined the height of the T wave as well as the degree to which the ascending or descending limb of the T wave was interrupted, giving rise to bifurcated T waves and "apparent T-U complexes" under LQT conditions. Spontaneous and stimulation-induced polymorphic ventricular tachycardia with characteristics of torsade de pointes (TdP) developed in the presence of dl-sotalol. CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide the first direct evidence that opposing voltage gradients between epicardium and the M region and endocardium and the M region contribute prominently to the inscription of the ECG T wave under normal conditions and to the widened or bifurcated T wave and long-QT interval observed under LQT conditions. Our data suggest that the "pathophysiological U" wave observed in acquired or congenital LQTS is more likely to be a second component of an interrupted T wave, and argue for use of the term T2 in place of U to describe this event.
This article was published in Circulation
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology