Drugs that interact with cardiac electro-mechanics: Old and new targets for treatment

Paulus Kirchhof, L Fortmueller, C Waldeyer, G Breithardt, Larissa Fabritz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of mechano-electrical feedback was derived from the observation that a short stretch applied to the beating heart can invoke an electrical response in the form of an afterdepolarization or a premature ventricular beat. More recent work has identified stretch-activated channels whose specific inhibition might help to treat atrial fibrillation in the near future. But the interaction between electrical and mechanical function of the heart is a continuum from short-term (within milliseconds) to long-term (within weeks or months) effects. The long-term effects of pressure overload have been well-described on the molecular and cellular level, and substances that interact with these processes are used in clinical routine in the care of patients with cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. These treatments help to prevent lethal arrhythmias (sudden death) and potentially atrial fibrillation. The intermediate interaction between mechanical and electrical function of the heart is less well-understood. Several recently identified regulatory mechanisms may provide novel antiarrhythmic targets associated with the "intermediate" response of the myocardium to stretch. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-512
Number of pages16
JournalProgress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008


  • hypertrophy
  • calcium
  • atrial fibrillation
  • cell-cell adhesion
  • mechano-electric feed back
  • arrhythmias
  • hypertension
  • action potential
  • mechanism
  • sudden death
  • fibrosis


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