Prospective Study of Atrial Fibrillation Termination During Ablation Guided by Automated Detection of Fractionated Electrograms

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Complex fractionated atrial electrograms (CFAE) may identify critical sites for perpetuation of atrial fibrillation (AF) and provide useful targets for ablation. Current assessment of CFAE is subjective; automated detection algorithms may improve reproducibility, but their utility in guiding ablation has not been tested.

Methods and Results

In 67 patients presenting for initial AF ablation (42 paroxysmal, 25 persistent), LA and CS mapping were performed during induced or spontaneous AF. CFAE were identified by an online automated computer algorithm and displayed on electroanatomical maps. A mean of 28 ± 18 sites/patient were identified (20 ± 13% of mapped sites), and were more frequent during persistent AF. CFAE occurred most commonly within the CS, on the atrial septum, and around the pulmonary veins. Ablation initially targeting CFAE terminated AF in 88% of paroxysmal AF, but only 20% of persistent AF (P < 0.001). Subsequently, additional ablation was performed in all patients (PV isolation for paroxysmal AF, PV isolation + mitral and roof lines for persistent AF). Minimum follow-up was 1 year. One-year freedom from recurrent atrial arrhythmias without antiarrhythmic drug therapy after a single procedure was 90% for paroxysmal AF, and 68% for persistent AF.


Ablation guided by automated detection of CFAE proved feasible, and was associated with a high AF termination rate in paroxysmal, but not persistent AF. As an adjunct to conventional techniques, it was associated with excellent long-term single procedure outcomes in both groups. Criteria for identifying optimal CFAE sites for ablation, and selection of patients most likely to benefit, require additional study.

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