Preceding His-atrial interval as a determinant of atrioventricular nodal conduction time in the human and rabbit heart

  • Jacques Billette
    Address for reprints: Jacques Billette, MD, PhD, Département de physiologie, Faculté de médecine, Université de Montréal, Boîte postale 6208, Succursale A, Montréal, Québec H3C 3T8, Canada.
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    From the Department of Cardiology and Clinical Physiology, Wilhelmina Gasthuis, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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  • Author Footnotes
    ∗ Dr. Billette was the recipient of a postdoctoral Fellowship from the Canadian Medical Research Council.
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      This investigation shows that atrioventricular (A-V) nodal conduction time (A-H interval), both in the human and in the isolated rabbit heart, is determined mainly by the length of the preceding His-atrial (H-A) interval. The A-H intervals obtained during atrial extrasystolic stimulation at different basic rates, during Wenckebach cycles and during both transient and steady state responses to stepwise increases in stimulation frequency were plotted against the corresponding H-A intervals. The A-H intervals were found to have nearly the same duration provided they were preceded by the same H-A interval. The only important difference appeared in the short H-A interval range as a shortening of the A-H interval at faster basic rates. This facilitating effect of frequency, which was found in the majority of cases, is compatible with the similarly frequency-dependent shortening of the functional refractory period of the A-V node.
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