Guidelines for assessment of cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmias in small animals


Crystal M. Ripplinger, Department of Pharmacology, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Davis, California.
Alexey V. Glukhov, Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin.
Matthew W. Kay, Department of Biomedical Engineering, The George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia.
Bastiaan J. Boukens, Department Physiology, University Maastricht, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, Department of Pharmacology, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Davis, California.
Brian P. Delisle, Department of Physiology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.
Larissa Fabritz, University Center of Cardiovascular Science, University Heart and Vascular Center, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf with DZHK Hamburg/Kiel/Luebeck, Germany.
Thomas J. Hund, Department of Internal Medicine, Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Bjorn C. Knollmann, Vanderbilt Center for Arrhythmia Research and Therapeutics, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.
Na Li, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
Katherine T. Murray, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.
Steven Poelzing, Virginia Tech Carilon School of Medicine, Center for Heart and Reparative Medicine Research, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech, Roanoke, Virginia.
T Alexander Quinn, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Carol Ann Remme, Department of Experimental Cardiology, Heart Centre, Amsterdam Cardiovascular Sciences, Heart Failure and Arrhythmias Amsterdam UMC Location University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Stacey L. Rentschler, Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Washington University in Saint Louis, School of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri.
Robert A. Rose, Department of Cardiac Sciences, Libin Cardiovascular Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Nikki G. Posnack, Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children's National Hospital, Washington, District of Columbia.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology








ECG; arrhythmia; cardiac electrophysiology; guidelines; small animals


Cardiac arrhythmias are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Although recent advances in cell-based models, including human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CM), are contributing to our understanding of electrophysiology and arrhythmia mechanisms, preclinical animal studies of cardiovascular disease remain a mainstay. Over the past several decades, animal models of cardiovascular disease have advanced our understanding of pathological remodeling, arrhythmia mechanisms, and drug effects and have led to major improvements in pacing and defibrillation therapies. There exist a variety of methodological approaches for the assessment of cardiac electrophysiology and a plethora of parameters may be assessed with each approach. This guidelines article will provide an overview of the strengths and limitations of several common techniques used to assess electrophysiology and arrhythmia mechanisms at the whole animal, whole heart, and tissue level with a focus on small animal models. We also define key electrophysiological parameters that should be assessed, along with their physiological underpinnings, and the best methods with which to assess these parameters.