Effect of Mental Challenge Induced by Movie Clips on Action Potential Duration in Normal Human Subjects Independent of Heart Rate
Background—Mental stress and emotion have long been associated with ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death in animal models and humans. The effect of mental challenge on ventricular action potential duration (APD) in conscious healthy humans has not been reported.
Methods and Results—Activation recovery intervals (ARI) measured from unipolar electrograms as a surrogate for APD (n=19) were recorded from right and left ventricular endocardium during steady state pacing while subjects watched an emotionally charged film clip. To assess the possible modulating role of altered respiration on APD, the subjects then repeated the same breathing pattern they had during the stress, but without the movie clip. Haemodynamic parameters (mean, systolic, and diastolic blood pressure, and rate of pressure increase) and respiration rate increased during the stressful part of the film clip (p=0.001). APD decreased during the stressful parts of the film clip, eg for global RV ARI at end of film clip 193.8ms (SD 14) vs 198.0ms (SD13) during the matched breathing control (end film LV 199.8ms (SD16) vs control 201.6ms (SD15), p=0.004. Respiration rate increased during the stressful part of the film clip (by 2 breaths/minute), and was well matched in the respective control period without any haemodynamic or ARI changes.
Conclusions—Our results document for the first time direct recordings of the effect of a mental challenge protocol on ventricular action potential duration in conscious humans. The effect of mental challenge on APD was not secondary to emotionally-induced altered respiration or heart rate.
- activation recovery interval
- psychological stress
- action potential duration
- action potential
- Received July 22, 2013.
- Revision received March 18, 2014.
- Accepted April 8, 2014.