OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to determine if epicardial cooling could repeatedly terminate induced atrial fibrillation (AF) in a canine heart.
BACKGROUND: Rapid termination of AF could control symptoms and prevent atrial remodeling; however, defibrillation by internal electrical cardioversion is not tolerable to most patients. Cooling of the epicardium slows atrial conduction and may provide a less painful method to quickly terminate AF.
METHODS: AF was induced with atrial myocardial epinephrine injections and rapid atrial pacing in an open-chest canine. Attempts at termination were performed with a small metal device that was either cooled to 5°C or kept at body temperature (control module). The device was placed on the epicardial surface in the oblique sinus. The time from device contact to termination of AF was recorded.
RESULTS: In 5 different canine studies, there were 57 attempts at AF termination with either a 5°C module (34 attempts) or a control module (23 attempts). The median (interquartile range [IQR]) time to AF termination was 24 s (IQR: 15 to 35 s) for the 5°C therapy and 100 s (IQR: 47 to 240 s) for the body temperature treatments (p < 0.001). In the control group, there were 8 AF episodes that continued up to 4 min. Subsequent application of the 5°C cooling module terminated AF in all cases.
CONCLUSIONS: Epicardial cooling in the oblique sinus is effective for repeated termination of AF in a canine heart. If reproduced in human studies, epicardial cooling with an implantable device may provide a method for management of patients with AF.
- atrial fibrillation
- atrial remodeling
- cold therapy
- implantable device
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)