Physiol. Res. 52: 409-416, 2003

Preconditioning by Hypoventilation Increases Ventricular Arrhythmia Threshold in Wistar Rats


Department of Physiology, Medical Faculty, Šafárik University, Košice, Slovak Republic 

Received  April 25, 2002
Accepted August 4, 2002

Hypoventilation, as one of ventilatory disorders, decreases the electrical stability of the heart similarly as ischemia. If preconditioning by short cycles of ischemia has a cardioprotective effect against harmful influences of a prolonged ischemic period, then preconditioning by hypoventilation (HPC) can also have a similar effect. Anesthetized rats (ketamine 100 mg/kg + xylasine 15 mg/kg i.m., open chest experiments) were subjected to 20 min of hypoventilation followed by 20 min of reoxygenation (control group). The preconditioning (PC) was induced by one (1PC), two (2PC) or three (3PC) cycles of 5-min hypoventilation followed by 5-min reoxygenation. The electrical stability of the heart was measured by a ventricular arrhythmia threshold (VAT) tested by electrical stimulation of the right ventricle. Twenty-minute hypoventilation significantly decreased the VAT in the control and 1PC groups (p<0.05) and non-significantly in 2PC vs. the initial values. Reoxygenation reversed the VAT values to the initial level only in the control group. In 3PC, the VAT was increased from 2.32
±0.69 mA to 4.251.31 mA. during hypoventilation (p<0.001) and to 4.37±1.99 mA during reoxygenation (p<0.001). It is concluded that cardioprotection against the hypoventilation/ reoxygenation-induced decrease of VAT proved to be effective only after three cycles of HPC.

Key words
Hypoventilation • Cardioprotection • Preconditioning • Ventricular arrhythmia • Rats

Reprint requests
P. Švorc, Department of Physiology, Medical Faculty, Šafárik University, Tr. SNP 1, 040 66 Košice, Slovak Republic. E-mail:

© 2003 by the Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences