Spatial and temporal variations in pacemaking and conduction in the isolated renal pelvis

Wim J.E.P. Lammers, H. R. Ahmad, Kholoud Arafat

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33 Citations (Scopus)


In renal pelvis preparations isolated from the sheep, the location of the pacemaker and the pathway of conduction of the electrical impulse in the pelvis were analyzed in detail. An electrophysiological acquisition system was used allowing simultaneous recordings from 240 extracellular electrodes. Reconstruction of the spread of activity showed that the site of the pelvis pacemaker was, in virtually all cases, located at the pelvicalyceal border and never in the body of the pelvis or in the area of the pelviureteric junction. One single pacemaker was responsible for a particular spread of activation, and fusion of activity originating from two or more pacemakers did not take place. Furthermore, spontaneous shifts of the pacemaker could occur from one site to another along the pelvicalyceal border. Conduction from the site of the current pacemaker to the pelviureteric junction and the ureter was slow, inhomogeneous, and contorted. Multiple instances of partial or total conduction block were seen at all levels in the pelvis and were not restricted to the pelviureteric junction. The occurrence of conduction block did not seem to be related to the length of the preceding interval, implying that the refractory period did not play a major role in the genesis of intrapelvic conduction block. In conclusion, high-resolution mapping of the renal pelvis is possible and reveals location and behavior of the pacemaker and documents inhomogeneities in conduction and conduction block.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F567-F574
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology
Issue number4 PART 2
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Conduction
  • Electrical mapping
  • Pacemaker
  • Pelvis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)


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