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Cardiology Research and Practice
Volume 2011, Article ID 162984, 4 pages
Research Article

Rate Control in Atrial Fibrillation by Cooling: Effect of Temperature on Dromotropy in Perfused Rabbit Hearts

1Department of Cardiology, University Hospital, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstraße 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany
2University Witten/Herdecke, 58448 Witten, Germany
3Department of Cardiology, University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands

Received 19 November 2010; Revised 21 February 2011; Accepted 23 February 2011

Academic Editor: Atul Verma

Copyright © 2011 Karl Mischke et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Cooling has emerged as a therapeutic option in critically ill patients (especially after cardiac resuscitation) and might also have a negative dromotropic effect in atrial fibrillation. We sought to determine the impact of cooling on electrophysiologic properties of Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts. Methods and Results. In 20 isolated Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts, the temperature of the tissue bath was changed between 17 and 42°C. With decreasing temperature, significant increases of the spontaneous sinus cycle length, decreases of the mean ventricular heart rate during atrial fibrillation, and relevant increases of atrial and ventricular refractory periods were observed (ANOVA 𝑃 < . 0 1 ). Conclusions. Cardiac hypothermia leads to a significant drop of mean ventricular heart rate during atrial fibrillation. Negative chronotropy and dromotropy induced by moderate cardiac hypothermia might be a feasible therapeutic approach in patients with hemodynamically relevant tachyarrhythmias in a CCU/ICU setting.