The route efferent vagal fibers travel to reach the left ventricle is not clear and was the subject of this investigation. We measured left ventricular and septal effective refractory period (ERP) changes during vagal stimulation and a constant infusion of norepinephrine, before and after phenol was applied at selected sites of the heart to interrupt efferent vagal fibers that may be traveling in that area. Phenol applied to the atrioventricular (AV) groove between the origin of the right coronary artery anteriorly to the posterior descending branch of the circumflex coronary artery completely eliminated vagal-induced prolongation of ERP in the anterior and posterior left ventricular free wall and reduced, but did not eliminate, ERP prolongation in the septum. A large (3-cm radius) epicardial circle of phenol prevented vagal-induced ERP prolongation within the circle in all dogs, while a small (1-cm radius) epicardial circle of phenol failed to prevent vagal-induced ERP changes within the circle in any dog. An intermediate (2-cm radius) circle eliminated vagal effects on ERP in 13 of 18 dogs. Arcs of phenol, to duplicate the upper portion of the circle, applied sequentially from apex to base eliminated efferent vagal effects only when painted near or at the AV groove. We conclude that the majority of efferent vagal fibers enroute to innervate the anterior and posterior left ventricular epicardium cross the AV groove within 0.25-0.5 mm (depth of phenol destruction) of the epicardial surface. Within 1-2 cm of the AV groove, vagal efferent fibers penetrate the left ventricle and travel an intramural or subendocardial course.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1985|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)