The role of coronary sinus musculature in the induction of atrial fibrillation

Hiroshi Morita, Douglas P. Zipes, Shiho T. Morita, Jiashin Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Coronary sinus (CS) musculature connects the right atria (RA) and the left atria (LA). However, the functional significance of the electrical junctions between the atria and the CS musculature is still unclear. Objective: We investigated electrophysiological properties of the CS-atrial connections and their role in atrial fibrillation. Methods: By using an optical mapping system, we mapped action potentials at 256 sites on the epicardial surface of 16 isolated and arterial-perfused canine atrial tissues containing the entire musculature of the CS, lower RA, posterior LA, left inferior pulmonary vein, and vein of Marshal. We paced from each of the above regions to measure electrophysiological properties and inducibility of atrial tachyarrhythmias. Results: The CS musculature connected to the RA at the ostium of the CS and to the LA at proximal and distal CS sites. Electrical conduction across each of these CS-atrial junctions was slow (P <.01), but not decremental. Rapid pacing often induced entrance block at the CS-atrial junctions and resulted in sequential changes of activation sequence in the CS. Macroreentrant circuit involving the CS musculature and the CS-atrial junctions occurred in association with conduction block at these junctions. The reentrant circuit was usually unstable and resulted in atrial fibrillationlike electrocardiographic activity. Conclusions: The anatomical and electrical connections between the CS musculature and the RA and the LA caused conduction slowing and block in the CS musculature and its atrial junctions, which frequently initiated unstable macroreentry and atrial fibrillation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-589
Number of pages9
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Coronary sinus musculature
  • Optical mapping
  • Vein of Marshall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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