AV nodal-His-Purkinje reentry: a novel form of tachycardia

S M Markowitz, K M Stein, E D Engelstein, B B Lerman
Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology 1995, 6 (5): 400-9

INTRODUCTION: Bundle branch reentry (BBR) typically occurs in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and infra-Hisian conduction system disease. The macroreentrant circuit of BBR is confined to the His-Purkinje system (HPS) and ventricular myocardium. As such, the atrioventricular (AV) node plays no role in the tachycardia circuit.

METHODS AND RESULTS: In the present study, we identified a novel form of wide complex tachycardia in a patient with coronary disease and severe aortic regurgitation. The tachycardia morphology was right bundle branch block with a left superior axis. Ventriculoatrial block was present during tachycardia. An unusual feature of this rhythm was two sequential His-bundle deflections (H and H') for each ventricular beat of tachycardia. The H'V interval was identical to the HV interval during supraventricular rhythm. Changes in the ventricular cycle length (VV) preceded changes in the HH interval, consistent with retrograde activation of the first His-bundle deflection. Changes in the H'H' interval preceded changes in the VV interval, consistent with anterograde activation of the second His-bundle deflection. Tachycardia could be terminated with ventricular extrastimuli that did not capture the proximal HPS as well as with ventricular extrastimuli that advanced the His deflection, consistent with block in the HPS and in the AV node, respectively. Reproducible termination of the tachycardia following the first His deflection was demonstrated with adenosine, consistent with an upper pivot in the AV node.

CONCLUSIONS: We have identified a new form of reentrant tachycardia in which the AV node, HPS, and ventricular myocardium each obligatorily participates in the tachycardia circuit, with the left posterior fascicle and right bundle functioning as the anterograde and retrograde limbs, respectively. Unlike BBR, however, the His bundle is activated twice as the wavefront pivots in the AV node. This model requires longitudinal dissociation at the levels of the AV node and His bundle.

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