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Is the new professionalism and ACP's new ethics really just about following guidelines?

The Charter ( Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium.A Physician's Charter) did not deal with just the important relationship of ...

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

LBBB with left axis differs mechanistically from LBBB with normal axis

 A paper by L. Sciarra et al  (1) presents evidence that LBBB with left axis deviation ( frontal plane axis between -30 and -90 degrees) differs in terms of the conduction sequence  and regional left ventricular contraction patterns. They argue that patterns differs from what is observed in LBBB with a normal axis and suggest that a different approach to CRT is indicated.

Normally, with intact left bundle branch conduction the interventricular septum is activated from left to right. In LBBB the septum is activated from right to left  In typical LBBB there is early activation and contraction of the septum with bulging of the left basal portion of the left ventricle which then contracts late causing a bulging of the septum. Because the lateral LV wall is the last segment to contract it has been thought best to place the coronary sinus lead in a vein draining that area of the heart to optimize CRT.

However, in LBBB with LAD the last segment to contract is the anterior wall of the LV suggesting optimal  CRT might be obtained by positioning the CS lead more anteriorly .

A sub analysis from the MADIT CRT trial found that LBBB plus LAD has an increase risk of Heart failure and death and a trend ( not stat significant ) toward less benefit from CRT.

Speculation - maybe CS leads were not in optimal location.

1) Sciarra, L et al Patients with left bundle branch block and left axis deviation show a specific left ventricular asynchrony pattern Implications for lft ventricular lead placement during CRT implantation.J Electrocardiology Mar-Apr 2018:51,(2) 175 

Monday, May 17, 2021

What does chronaxie have to do with His Bundle pacing?

 What does chronaxie have to do with His Bundle Pacing (HBP), for that matter what does chronaxie have to do with anything?

The minimal voltage amplitude that can capture a nerve or muscle at an infinitely long pulse duration is called the rheobase.More simply rheobase is the minimal voltage necessary to stimulate the tissue. The chronaxie is defined as the pulse duration required for capture with a voltage of twice the rheobase. 

The chronaxie is important in regard to programing pulse generators. The chronaxie approximates the point on the strength duration curve at which there is minimal energy expended. The strength duration curve intersects the energy curve at the chronaxie, where energy equals V2/r X I .

Quoting Ellenbogen, fifth edition " As a practical point when programming the pulse duration of a  pulse generator,chronaxie is an excellent choice to minimize energy,limit charge drained from the battery... 

That sentence was written at a time before there was clinical application of His Bundle pacing. Is there any reason to believe that that rule of thumb would be no longer applicable? Is the chronaxie an excellent choice to minimize energy and limit battery depletion in patients with His Pacing? If so does that apply to both selective and non-selective His pacing?

Dr. Marek Jastrzebski and his colleagues in Krakow along with Dr. Pugazhendi  Vijayaraman from Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (1)have studied the strength duration curves of the His bundle and the adjacent right ventricular muscle and make suggestions regarding programming .

They determined the HB and adjacent Right ventricular muscle chronaxies in 127 patients finding that in patients with selective HB pacing that the His bundle had a shorter chronaxie than the adjacent RV muscle while in non selective HBP patients the RV and HBP chronaxies did not differ.

The authors say that it is their practice to promote selective HB capture by empirically programming the pulse duration  (pd) to 0.2 -0.3 ms.However,for non selective , particularly in cases of distal AV block a longer pd ( i.e. 1.0 ms) would offer greater safety. They suggest that sometimes (often ?) the default setting from the factory is often 1.0 ms, which is far from optimal. 


1) Jastrzebski,M et al His bundle has a shorter chronaxie that does the adjacent ventricular myocardium:Implications for pacemaker programming. Heart Rhythm 2019;16:1808-1810.

2) Clinical Cardiac pacing,defibrillation,and resynchronization therapy, Ellenbogen,Wilkoff,Kay,Lau and Auricchio FifthEdition