2011 Vol. 8, No. 3
Objective To report Medtronic experiences with the development of animal models for atrial fibrillation (AF) and chronic heart failure (CHF) using high-rate pacing for AF and microemboli for CHF. Methods For the AF model, an atrial lead was attached to a Medtronic SynergyTM neurostimulator, which was programmed to stimulate at 50 Hz in an on-off duty cycle. Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) were assayed at select time points. For CHF model, a serial injection of 90 μm polystyrene microspheres at 62,400 beads/mL (Polybead, Polysciences, Inc.) was performed to induce global ischemia, either with weekly monitoring and embolization schedule (group 1, n = 25) or with biweekly monitoring and emboliation schedule (group 2, n = 36 ). Echocardiograms were used along with ventriculograms and magnetic resonance imaging scans weekly to assess cardiac function and ANP, BNP and NT-proBNP were monitored. Results For the AF model, the days to sustained AF for four animals following surgery were 7, 25, 21 and 19, respectively; For the CHF model, the days to meet CHF endpoints were 116 in group 1 and 89 in group 2. For both AF and CHF models, NT-proBNP correlated well with the development of disease states. Conclusion Our experience for the development and assessment of AF and CHF dog models may help researchers who are in search for animal model for assessing the safety and efficacy of a device-based therapy.
Background Atrial fibrillation (AF) causes a continuum of atrial anatomical remodeling. Methods Using a library of perfusion-fixed human hearts, specimens with AF were compared to controls. During this preliminary assessment study, direct measurements were taken of atrial volume, pulmonary vein (PV) circumference, and left atrial (LA) wall thicknesses. Results Hearts with AF typically had larger atrial volumes, as well as a much larger variation in volume compared to controls (range of 59.6–227.1 mL in AF hearts compared to 65.1–115.9 mL in controls). For all hearts, right PVs were larger than left PVs (mean: 171.4 ± 84.6 mm2 for right and 118.2 ± 50.1 mm2 for left, P Conclusions Hearts with AF had a large range of sizes which is consistent with the progression of atrial remodeling during AF. The large range of thicknesses will influence the amount of energy needed to create transmural lesions during ablation procedures.
Action potentials generated in the sinoatrial node (SAN) dominate the rhythm and rate of a healthy human heart. Subsequently, these action potentials propagate to the whole heart via its conduction system. Abnormalities of impulse generation and/or propagation in a heart can cause arrhythmias. For example, SAN dysfunction or conduction block of the atrioventricular node can lead to serious bradycardia which is currently treated with an implanted electronic pacemaker. On the other hand, conduction damage may cause reentrant tachyarrhythmias which are primarily treated pharmacologically or by medical device-based therapies, including defibrillation and tissue ablation. However, drug therapies sometimes may not be effective or are associated with serious side effects. Device-based therapies for cardiac arrhythmias, even with well developed technology, still face inadequacies, limitations, hardware complications, and other challenges. Therefore, scientists are actively seeking other alternatives for antiarrhythmic therapy. In particular, cells and genes used for repairing cardiac conduction damage/defect have been investigated in various studies both in vitro and in vivo. Despite the complexities of the excitation and conduction systems of the heart, cell and gene-based strategies provide novel alternatives for treatment or cure of cardiac arrhythmias. This review summarizes some highlights of recent research progress in this field.
The average human life span has markedly increased in modern society largely attributed to advances in medical and therapeutic sciences that have successfully reduced important health risks. However, advanced age results in numerous alterations to cellular and subcellular components that can impact the overall health and function of an individual. Not surprisingly, advanced age is a major risk factor for the development of heart disease in which elderly populations observe increased morbidity and mortality. Even healthy individuals that appear to have normal heart function under resting conditions, actually have an increased susceptibility and vulnerability to stress. This is confounded by the impact that stress and disease can have over time to both the heart and vessels. Although, there is a rapidly growing body of literature investigating the effects of aging on the heart and how age-related alterations affect cardiac function, the biology of aging and underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this review, we summarize effects of aging on the heart and discuss potential theories of cellular aging with special emphasis on mitochondrial dysfunction.
Cardiomyopathies are diseases that primarily affect the myocardium, leading to serious cardiac dysfunction and heart failure. Out of the three major categories of cardiomyopathies (hypertrophic, dilated and restrictive), restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM) is less common and also the least studied. However, the prognosis for RCM is poor as some patients dying in their childhood. The molecular mechanisms behind the disease development and progression are not very clear and the treatment of RCM is very difficult and often ineffective. In this article, we reviewed the recent progress in RCM research from the clinical studies and the translational studies done on diseased transgenic animal models. This will help for a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the etiology and development of RCM and for the design of better treatments for the disease.
Human aging is a global issue with important implications for current and future incidence and prevalence of health conditions and disability. Cardiac arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation, sudden cardiac death, and bradycardia requiring pacemaker placement, all increase exponentially after the age of 60. It is important to distinguish between the normal, physiological consequences of aging on cardiac electrophysiology and the abnormal, pathological alterations. The age-related cardiac changes include ventricular hypertrophy, senile amyloidosis, cardiac valvular degenerative changes and annular calcification, fibrous infiltration of the conduction system, and loss of natural pacemaker cells and these changes could have a profound effect on the development of arrhythmias. The age-related cardiac electrophysiological changes include up- and down-regulation of specific ion channel expression and intracellular Ca2+ overload which promote the development of cardiac arrhythmias. As ion channels are the substrates of antiarrhythmic drugs, it follows that the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of these drugs will also change with age. Aging alters the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination of antiarrhythmic drugs, so liver and kidney function must be monitored to avoid potential adverse drug effects, and antiarrhythmic dosing may need to be adjusted for age. Elderly patients are also more susceptible to the side effects of many antiarrhythmics, including bradycardia, orthostatic hypotension, urinary retention, and falls. Moreover, the choice of antiarrhythmic drugs in the elderly patient is frequently complicated by the presence of co-morbid conditions and by polypharmacy, and the astute physician must pay careful attention to potential drug-drug interactions. Finally, it is important to remember that the use of antiarrhythmic drugs in elderly patients must be individualized and tailored to each patient’s physiology, disease processes, and medication regimen.
Current guidelines for implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) therapy in heart failure patients were established by multiple device trials; however, very few geriatric patients (patients > 65 years old) were included in these studies. This article explores the controversies of ICD implantation in the geriatric population, management of delivered ICD therapy in this age group, and the end of life care in patients with ICD.