Fourteen relatively long term survivors of cardiac transplantation underwent systematic electrophysiological evaluation and ambulatory electrocardiographic monitoring. Six patients had prolonged conduction intervals during sinus rhythm. Sinus node function could be assessed in all donor atria and in 10 recipient atria. Sinus node recovery times were prolonged in four of the donor atria and in six recipient atria. In the donor atria abnormalities of sinus node automaticity were invariably associated with abnormalities of sinoatrial conduction. Four patients showed functional duality of atrioventricular nodal conduction during programmed extrastimulation, but no patient developed re-entrant arrhythmia. During ambulatory electrocardiographic monitoring no pronounced tachyarrhythmias were recorded. Three patients showed abnormalities of sinus node impulse formation. All three patients had abnormal sinus node recovery times during their electrophysiological study. Long term survivors of cardiac transplantation have a high incidence of electrophysiological abnormalities. Abnormalities of donor sinus node function are probably of clinical significance. The clinical significance of abnormalities detected within the atrioventricular conduction system of the denervated heart remains to be elucidated.
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