Objectives: We evaluated serial changes of electrical and mechanical parameters of atrial remodeling in dogs subjected to rapid atrial pacing. Background: Prolonged rapid atrial excitation causes electrical and mechanical remodeling, which contributes to persistence of atrial fibrillation and clot formation. However, the temporal relationship between these two types of atrial remodeling remains unknown. Methods: In 8 dogs, rapid pacing at 400 ppm was continued for 14 days. The electrophysiologic and transesophageal echocardiographic studies were performed on the day before and after 2, 7, and 14 days of rapid pacing, then 1 and 7 days after the cessation of pacing. These were compared with sham-operated dogs (instrumented but not paced, n=6). Results: With rapid pacing, there was an immediate shortening of the effective refractory period (ERP) and decreases in the transmitral atrial wave velocity (MAV) and the left atrial appendage emptying velocity (LAAV). In contrast, conduction velocity (CV) decreased and the left atrial appendage area (LAAA) increased progressively over 14 days. During the recovery, ERP, MAV, and LAAV returned to the baseline in 1 day, whereas CV and LAAA did in 7 days. ERP was highly positively correlated with LAAV (r=0.78, p<0.001) and MAV (r=0.73, p<0.001), while CV was negatively correlated only with LAAA (r=-0.58, p<0.001). Conclusions: Pacing-induced electrical and mechanical remodeling of the atrium exhibits divergent patterns of progression and regression such that changes of ERP and contractile function take place more rapidly than those of CV and atrial size.
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