Background & Aims: Gastric arrhythmias occur in humans and experimental animals either spontaneously or induced by drugs or diseases. However, there is no information regarding the origin or the propagation patterns of the slow waves that underlie such arrhythmias. Methods: To elucidate this, simultaneous recordings were made on the antrum and the distal corpus during tachygastrias in open abdominal anesthetized dogs using a 240 extracellular electrode assembly. After the recordings, the signals were analyzed, and the origin and path of slow wave propagations were reconstructed. Results: Several types of arrhythmias could be distinguished, including (1) premature slow waves (25% of the arrhythmias), (2) single aberrant slow waves (4%), (3) bursts (18%), (4) regular tachygastria (11%), and (5) irregular tachygastria (10%). During regular tachygastria, rapid, regular slow waves emerged from the distal antrum or the greater curvature, whereas, during irregular tachygastria, numerous variations occurred in the direction of propagation, conduction blocks, focal activity, and re-entry. In 12 cases, the arrhythmia was initiated in the recorded area. In each case, after a normal propagating slow wave, a local premature slow wave occurred in the antrum. These premature slow waves propagated in various directions, often describing a single or a double loop that re-entered several times, thereby initiating additional slow waves. Conclusions: Gastric arrhythmias resemble those in the heart and share many common features such as focal origin, re-entry, circular propagation, conduction blocks, and fibrillation-like behavior.
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