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The Amplitude-Normalized Area of a Bipolar Electrogram as a Measure of Local Conduction Delay in the Heart

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Caroline Mendonca Costa, Grace C. Anderson, Veronique M.F. Meijborg, Christopher O’Shea, Michael J. Shattock, Paulus Kirchhof, Ruben Coronel, Steven Niederer, Davor Pavlovic, Tarvinder Dhanjal, James Winter

Original languageEnglish
Article number465
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Published19 May 2020

King's Authors


Background: Re-entrant ventricular tachycardia may be non-inducible or haemodynamically compromising, requiring assessment of the electrophysiological properties of the myocardium during sinus rhythm (i.e., substrate mapping). Areas of heart tissue with slow conduction can act as a critical isthmus for re-entrant electrical excitation and are a potential target for ablation therapy. Aim: To develop and validate a novel metric of local conduction delay in the heart, the amplitude-normalized electrogram area (norm_EA). Methods: A computational model of a propagating mouse action potential was used to establish the impact of altering sodium channel conductance, intracellular conductivity, fibrosis density, and electrode size/orientation on bipolar electrogram morphology. Findings were then validated in experimental studies in mouse and guinea pig hearts instrumented for the recording of bipolar electrograms from a multipolar linear mapping catheter. norm_EA was calculated by integrating the absolute area of a bipolar electrogram divided by the electrogram amplitude. Electrogram metrics were correlated with the local conduction delay during sodium channel block, gap junction inhibition, and acute ischemia. Results: In computational simulations, reducing sodium channel conductance and intracellular conductivity resulted in a decrease in signal amplitude and increase in norm_EA (reflecting a broadening of electrogram morphology). For larger electrodes (3 mm diameter/7.1 mm2 area), the change in norm_EA was essentially linear with the change in local conduction delay. Experimental studies supported this finding, showing that the magnitude of change in norm_EA induced by flecainide (1–4 μM), carbenoxolone (10–50 μM), and low-flow ischemia (25% of initial flow rate) was linearly correlated with the local conduction delay in each condition (r2 = 0.92). Qualitatively similar effects were observed in guinea pig hearts perfused with flecainide. Increasing fibrosis density in the computational model also resulted in a decrease in signal amplitude and increase in norm_EA. However, this remains to be validated using experimental/clinical data of chronic infarct. Conclusion: norm_EA is a quantitative measure of local conduction delay between the electrode pair that generates a bipolar electrogram, which may have utility in electrophysiological substrate mapping of non-inducible or haemodynamically compromising tachyarrhythmia.

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