Frequency modulation within electrocardiograms during ventricular fibrillation

Abhijit Patwardhan, Sachin Moghe, K. E. Wang, Fabio Leonelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Periods of reentrant activation and effective refractory periods are correlated with dominant frequency or reciprocal of cycle periods during ventricular fibrillation (VF). In the present study, we used an analysis technique based on Wigner transforms to quantify time-varying dominant frequencies in electrocardiograms (ECGs) during VF. We estimated dominant frequencies within orthogonal ECGs recorded in 10 dogs during trials of 10 s of VF and in 9 dogs during trials of 30 s of VF. In four additional dogs, we compared dominant frequencies during 10 s of VF before and after administration of amiodarone. Our results showed the following. 1) There was substantial frequency variation or modulation within the ECGs during 10 and 30 s of VF, the average variation being ±15% from the mean frequency. Amiodarone decreased mean frequencies (P < 0.05) as expected; however, amiodarone also decreased the variation in frequencies (P < 0.05). 2) During 30 s of VF, the dominant frequencies increased continuously from 7.3 to 8.1 Hz (P < 0.05). The increase in frequency was almost linear with a rate of 0.022 Hz/s (r2 = 0.93, P < 0.0005). 3) Modulation of frequencies during the first and the last one-half of 30 s of VF was not different. Average (in time) mean frequencies and modulation of frequencies were similar in all three ECGs. 4) Although the averages were similar, during any VF episode, dominant frequencies in ECGs recorded from different locations on the body surface were similar to each other at some times and markedly different from each other at other times. We conclude that during VF, 1) frequencies in ECGs vary considerably and continuously, amiodarone decreases this variation; 2) mean frequencies increase linearly during first 30 s; 3) the variability in frequency does not change during 30 s; and 4) at any given time, the frequencies within spatially different body surface ECGs can be either similar or markedly different.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H825-H835
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2 48-2
StatePublished - 2000


  • Amiodarone
  • Arrhythmia
  • Nonstationary
  • Refractory periods
  • Restitution
  • Time-frequency analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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