Diagnosis of atrial tachycardias originating from the lower right atrium: importance of P-wave morphology in the precordial leads V3–V6

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Abstract

Aims

This study aimed to characterize P-wave morphology (PWM) in leads V3–V6 during focal atrial tachycardia (AT) originating from the lower right atrium (RA), and to investigate the role of interatrial conduction (IAC) pathways in the formation of PWM.

Methods and results

Twenty-eight consecutive patients with tachycardia foci in the lower RA underwent detailed atrial endocardial activation mapping and radiofrequency catheter ablation. P-wave configuration was analysed using standard 12-lead electrocardiogram. Atrial tachycardia originated from lower non-septal tricuspid annulus (LTA) (n = 11), coronary sinus ostium (CSo) (n = 11), lower crista terminalis (LCT) (n = 4), or lower free wall (n = 2). In leads V3–V6, PWM showed a negative pattern in at least two consecutive leads during AT originating from CSo (11/11) and LTA (9/11), with an associated sensitivity of 91%, specificity of 100%, positive predictive value (PPV) of 100%, and negative predictive value (NPV) of 75%. A positive PWM was observed in three of four ATs originating from LCT, with an associated sensitivity of 75%, specificity of 100%, PPV of 60%, and NPV of 96%. A negative PWM in V3–V6 was consistent with a preferential IAC through musculature in the vicinity of the CS and an activation of both atria in an antero-posterior direction. In contrast, a positive PWM was associated with the engagement of a posterior (non-CS-related) interatrial connection.

Conclusion

Characteristic PWMs in V3–V6 may accurately differentiate the anatomic sites of AT from the low RA with high PPVs and NPVs. P-wave morphology in V3–V6 is likely to be influenced by the engagement of the preferential IAC.

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