A comparison of the electrophysiologic and electroanatomic characteristics between the right and left atrium in persistent atrial fibrillation: Is the right atrium a window into the left?

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Abstract

Introduction:

The right atrium (RA) is readily accessible; however, it is unclear whether changes in the RA are representative of the LA. We performed detailed biatrial electroanatomic mapping to determine the electrophysiological relationship between the atria.

Methods and results:

Consecutive patients with persistent AF underwent biatrial electroanatomical mapping with a contact force catheter acquiring points with a CF >10 g prior to ablation. Points were analyzed for tissue voltage, complex electrograms, low voltage (<0.5 mV), scar (<0.05 mV), and conduction velocity (CV). Forty patients (mean age 59 ± 9.2 years, AF duration 12.9 ± 9.2 months, LA area: 28 ± 5.2, RA area: 25 ± 6.4 mm2, LVEF: 44 ± 15%) underwent mapping during CS pacing. Bipolar voltage (R = 0.57, P <0.001), unipolar voltage (R = 0.68, P <0.001), low voltage (<0.5 nV) (R = 0.48, P = 0.002), fractionation (R = 0.73, P <0.001), and CV (R = 0.49, P = 0.001) correlated well between atria. There was no difference in global bipolar voltage (LA 1.89 ± 0.77 vs. RA 1.77 ± 0.57 mV, P = 0.57); complex electrograms (LA 20% vs. RA 20%, P = 0.99) or low voltage (LA 15% vs. RA 16%, P = 0.84). Global unipolar voltage was significantly higher in the LA compared to the RA (2.95 ± 1.14 vs. 2.28 ± 0.65 mV, P = 0.002) and CV was significantly slower in the RA compared to the LA (0.93 ± 0.15 m/s vs. 1.01 ± 0.19 m/s, P = 0.001).

Conclusion:

AF is associated with remodeling processes affecting both atria. The more accessible RA provides an insight into the biatrial process associated with AF in various disease states without trans-septal access.

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