Entrainment of ventricular tachycardia: Explanation for surface electrocardiographic phenomena by analysis of electrograms recorded within the tachycardia circuit

J. M. Almendral, C. D. Gottlieb, M. E. Rosenthal, N. J. Stamato, A. E. Buxton, F. E. Marchlinski, J. M. Miller, M. E. Josephson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations


Transient entrainment was demonstrated during 59 pacing events in 18 episodes of sustained uniform ventricular tachycardia (VT) while recording electrograms from site of origin of tachycardia (LE-SOO). During entrainment, the morphology of the initial component of the LE-SOO was identical to the morphology observed during the tachycardia in 13 VTs (group I), but in five VTs (group II), the initial component changed at a 'critical' paced cycle length. The presence of the proposed surface electrocardiographic criteria for entrainment - fixed fusion and a first postpacing complex without fusion but occurring at the paced cycle length - were integrally dependent on the morphologic changes in the local presystolic electrogram. Fixed fusion of the surface electrocardiogram at one or more paced cycle lengths was detected during entrainment at 35 of 59 paced cycle lengths in 12 of 18 tachycardias, 10 of which were group I and two of which were group II VTs. Fixed fusion demonstrated by analysis of the LE-SOO was observed at one or more pacing cycle lengths in 17 of 18 VTs. In five tachycardias in which surface electrocardiographic fusion was not observed, fixed fusion was evident on analysis of the left ventricular LE-SOO during right ventricular pacing. The first postpacing interval, as measured at the surface electrocardiogram, was consistently equal to the paced cycle length in only one of 18 tachycardias and was greater than the VT cycle length in eight of 17 tachycardias. A pathway with a long conduction time was demonstrated during entrainment. However, in those 12 VTs in patients in whom pacing was performed at more than one cycle length and there was preservation of the LE-SOO morphology, the conduction time between the stimulus and presystolic electrogram remained constant. Thus, no evidence for 'atrioventricular nodal-like' decremental conduction was observed over a wide range of pacing cycle lengths. We conclude that: (1) two of the previously proposed criteria for diagnosis of entrainment (fixed fusion on the surface electrocardiogram and a first postpacing interval equal to the paced cycle length) are overly restrictive criteria for definition of 'entrainment' of VT, (2) analysis of endocardial recordings from the site of origin of tachycardia during attempted entrainment of VT is useful for documenting the presence of entrainment, and (3) such analysis provides a basis for the understanding of surface electrocardiographic phenomenon associated with entrainment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-580
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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