Magnetic resonance imaging during untreated ventricular fibrillation reveals prompt right ventricular overdistention without left ventricular volume loss

Robert A. Berg, Vincent L. Sorrell, Karl B. Kern, Ronald W. Hilwig, Maria I. Altbach, Melinda M. Hayes, Kathryn A. Bates, Gordon A. Ewy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background - Most out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation (VF) is prolonged (>5 minutes), and defibrillation from prolonged VF typically results in asystole or pulseless electrical activity. Recent visual epicardial observations in an open-chest, open-pericardium model of swine VF indicate that blood flows from the high-pressure arterial system to the lower-pressure venous system during untreated VF, thereby overdistending the right ventricle and apparently decreasing left ventricular size. Therefore, inadequate left ventricular stroke volume after defibrillation from prolonged VF has been postulated as a major contributor to the development of pulseless rhythms. Methods and Results - Ventricular dimensions were determined by MRI for 30 minutes of untreated VF in a closed-chest, closed-pericardium model in 6 swine. Within 1 minute of untreated VF, mean right ventricular volume increased by 29% but did not increase thereafter. During the first 5 minutes of untreated VF, mean left ventricular volume increased by 34%. Between 20 and 30 minutes of VF, stone heart occurred as manifested by dramatic thickening of the myocardium and concomitant substantial decreases in left ventricular volume. Conclusions - In this closed-chest swine model of VF, substantial right ventricular volume changes occurred early and did not result in smaller left ventricular volumes. The changes in ventricular volumes before the late development of stone heart do not explain why defibrillation from brief duration VF (<5 minutes) typically results in a pulsatile rhythm with return of spontaneous circulation, whereas defibrillation from prolonged VF (5 to 15 minutes) does not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1136-1140
Number of pages5
JournalCirculation
Volume111
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 8 2005

Keywords

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Heart arrest
  • Hemodynamics
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Ventricular fibrillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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