The human atrial strength-interval relation. Influence of cycle length and procainamide

A. E. Buxton, F. E. Marchlinski, J. M. Miller, D. F. Morrison, L. H. Frame, M. E. Josephson

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19 Scopus citations


We defined the atrial strength-interval in 23 patients at cycle lengths of 600, 450, and 300 msec before and after procainamide. The atrial diastolic threshold was similar at cycle lengths of 600 and 450 msec, but the threshold at 300 msec was significantly higher than that determined at 600 and 450 msec both before and after procainamide. Procainamide significantly increased the diastolic threshold only at a cycle length of 300 msec. The strength-interval relation was nonlinear, showing progressively decreasing decrements in the measured refractory period as the stimulating current was increased. Progressive decreases in the drive cycle length from 600 to 450 to 300 msec caused similar decreases in refractory periods. The shape of the curves was similar at cycle lengths of 600 and 450 msec. However, at low current strengths, the slope of the curve determined at 300 msec was significantly more vertical than the slopes of the curves at the longer drive cycle lengths. Procainamide caused similar increases in apparent refractory periods at each paced cycle length. Procainamide did not alter the shape of the curves at any paced cycle length. These observations confirm the importance of stimulation frequency on atrial excitability. They suggest that the effects of procainamide on the effective refractory period of the atrium are not cycle length dependent, although the drug effects on threshold are dependent on the drive cycle length.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-280
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this

Buxton, A. E., Marchlinski, F. E., Miller, J. M., Morrison, D. F., Frame, L. H., & Josephson, M. E. (1989). The human atrial strength-interval relation. Influence of cycle length and procainamide. Circulation, 79(2), 271-280.