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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Selective elimination of retrograde conduction by intraoperative neodymium: YAG laser photocoagulation in dogs.

OBJECTIVES. The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of selective elimination of ventriculoatrial (VA) conduction by limited laser photocoagulation of the atrioventricular (AV) node, and to analyze the histologic substrate of unidirectional retrograde block. BACKGROUND. Atrioventricular node reentry requires intact retrograde conduction. METHODS. Neodymium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser photocoagulation was performed during cardiopulmonary bypass through a right atriotomy in 15 dogs that had intact retrograde conduction before operation. Short laser pulses were delivered to an area between the coronary sinus orifice and the proximal His bundle. The end point of lasing was second-degree AV node block at a paced atrial cycle length of 250 ms. RESULTS. Complete retrograde block developed immediately in 11 of the 15 dogs (group I), while AV conduction persisted in all 11. In 4 of the 15 dogs (group II), both AV and VA conduction remained intact. During a 3-month follow-up period, retrograde conduction remained absent in all group I dogs. Retrograde block was not reversed by isoproterenol. Anterograde AV node characteristics (Wenckebach cycle length, functional refractory period, ventricular rate during atrial fibrillation) were unchanged in five dogs and modified in six. Complete AV block did not develop. In four control dogs (group III, sham operation), anterograde and retrograde AV node characteristics were unchanged. The anterograde Wenckebach cycle lengths in groups I, II and III at 3 months measured 192 +/- 15 ms, 195 +/- 6 ms and 170 +/- 22 ms, respectively, whereas the retrograde Wenckebach cycle lengths in groups II and III measured 345 +/- 62 ms and 278 +/- 25 ms, respectively. Histologic study at 3 months in cases with unidirectional VA block showed the compact part of the AV node intact with destruction of the atrial approaches and the superficial layers of the proximal end of the node on the right side. CONCLUSIONS. 1) With limited laser photocoagulation of the proximal AV node area, VA conduction can be eliminated and anterograde AV node transmission maintained. 2) Destruction of the atrial approaches on the right side with preservation of the compact part of the AV node may result in unidirectional retrograde block.[1]


  1. Selective elimination of retrograde conduction by intraoperative neodymium: YAG laser photocoagulation in dogs. Littmann, L., Svenson, R.H., Bharati, S., Lev, M., Chuang, C.H., Kempler, P., Splinter, R., Tuntelder, J.R., Tatsis, G.P. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. (1993) [Pubmed]
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