A porcine model of early atrial fibrillation using a custom-built, radio transmission-controlled pacemaker

Michael Schwarzl, Alessio Alogna, David Zweiker, Jochen Verderber, Stefan Huber, Martin Manninger, Daniel Scherr, Gudrun Antoons, Burkert M. Pieske, Heiner Post*, Andreas Lueger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Mechanisms underlying atrial remodeling toward atrial fibrillation (AF) are incompletely understood. We induced AF in 16 pigs by 6weeks of rapid atrial pacing (RAP, 600bpm) using a custom-built, telemetrically controlled pacemaker. AF evolution was monitored three times per week telemetrically in unstressed, conscious animals. We established a dose-response relationship between RAP duration and occurrence of sustained AF >60minutes. Left atrial (LA) dilatation was present already at 2weeks of RAP. There was no evidence of left ventricular heart failure after 6weeks of RAP. As a proof-of-principle, arterial hypertension was induced in 5/16 animals by implanting desoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA, an aldosterone-analog) subcutaneously to accelerate atrial remodeling. RAP+DOCA resulted in increased AF stability with earlier onset of sustained AF and accelerated anatomical atrial remodeling with more pronounced LA dilatation. This novel porcine model can serve to characterize effects of maladaptive stimuli or protective interventions specifically during early AF.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-131
JournalJournal of Electrocardiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Atrial remodeling
  • Rapid atrial pacing
  • Porcine
  • DOCA
  • Arterial hypertension

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