Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Parasystole



Parasystole is a kind of arrhythmia caused by the presence and function of a secondary pacemaker in the heart, which works in parallel with the SA node. Parasystolic pacemakers are protected from depolarization by the SA node by some kind of entrance block. This block can be complete or incomplete.
Parasystolic pacemakers can exist in both the atrium or the ventricle. Atrial parasystolia are characterized by narrow QRS complexes.

There are two forms of ventricular parasystole, fixed parasystole and modulated parasystole. Fixed ventricular parasystole occurs when an ectopic pacemaker is protected by entrance block, and thus its activity is completely independent from the sinus pacemaker activity. Hence, the ectopic pacemaker is expected to fire at a fixed rate. Therefore, on ECG, the coupling intervals of the manifest ectopic beats will wander through the basic cycle of the sinus rhythm. Accordingly, the traditional electrocardiographic criteria used to recognize the fixed form of parasystole are:
  • the presence of variable coupling intervals of the manifest ectopic beats;
  • inter-ectopic intervals that are simple multiples of a common denominator;
  • fusion beats.