Cornell cardiologists publish new text on diagnosing arrhythmias

Veterinary cardiologists at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine have published the second edition of a textbook titled “Electrocardiography of the dog and cat: Diagnosis of arrhythmias.” The authors are adjunct professor Dr. Roberto Santilli, head of cardiology at the Clinica Veterinaria Malpensa in Italy; Dr. N. Sydney Moise, M.S. ’81; Associate Professor Dr. Romain Pariaut, Cornell cardiology section chief; and Dr. Manuela Perego, cardiologist at the Clinica Veterinaria Malpensa in Samarate, Italy.

Initially published in Italian, the authors converted the book to English while also expanding and updating the new version. “In recent years, research to understand the electrophysiological mechanisms behind cardiac arrhythmias in veterinary patients has increased,” the authors write in the preface. “Although these studies remain limited, the advancements are real and give us a better understanding of the clinical arrhythmias we commonly and uncommonly diagnose.”

The book gives both clinical and theoretical information to interpret simple complex electrocardiograms in dogs and cats, and is meant to be used by both veterinary students, general practitioners, as well as cardiology residents and specialists.

 “We hope that the readers will find it helpful in their daily clinical activities, and rather than feeling overwhelmed by the intricacies of electrocardiography, will develop their interest in deciphering the tracings they record,” the authors state.

The book contains a detailed description of the anatomy and electrophysiology of the conduction system, the theory behind the formation of the electrocardiographic waveforms, and the recording techniques available to the clinician. It details the characteristics of normal rhythm in dogs and cats, the impact of cardiac chamber enlargement on electrocardiogram, and then describes the portfolio of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias described in veterinary medicine, including ectopies, tachyarrhythmias, bradyarrhythmias and conduction abnormalities. The book also provides an overview of the effects of systemic diseases and drugs on the electrocardiogram, describes the presence of an artificial pacemaker, and the signs of device malfunction.

The authors note that “This work stems from a common passion for the fascinating complexity of arrhythmias and it is the product of friendship, collaboration and mutual academic respect.”