Recently, a new defibrillation modality using nanosecond pulses was shown to be effective at much lower energies than conventional 10 millisecond monophasic shocks in ex vivo experiments. Here we compare the safety factors of 300 nanosecond and 10 millisecond shocks to assess the safety of nanosecond defibrillation.
Methods and results:
The safety factor, i.e. the ratio of median effective doses (ED50) for electroporative damage and defibrillation, was assessed for nanosecond and conventional (millisecond) defibrillation shocks in Langendorff-perfused New Zealand white rabbit hearts. In order to allow for multiple shock applications in a single heart, a pair of needle electrodes was used to apply shocks of varying voltage. Propidium iodide (PI) staining at the surface of the heart showed that nanosecond shocks had a slightly lower safety factor (6.50) than millisecond shocks (8.69), p = 0.02; while PI staining cross-sections in the electrode plane showed no significant difference (5.38 for 300 ns shocks and 6.29 for 10 ms shocks, p = 0.22).
In Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts, nanosecond defibrillation has a similar safety factor as millisecond defibrillation, between 5 and 9, suggesting that nanosecond defibrillation can be performed safely.
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