Preferential conduction patterns along the coronary sinus during atrial fibrillation in humans and their modification by pulmonary vein isolation.

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Correlation function analysis applied to endocardial electrograms has earlier been used for analysis of agreement between signals and direction of activation during atrial fibrillation (AF). This study was aimed at evaluating whether preferential activation patterns along the coronary sinus (CS) exist in patients with AF. METHODS: Twenty-seven patients (57 ± 10 years old) admitted for electrophysiological (EP) study (10 patients) and/or AF ablation (17 patients) were studied, 8 with permanent and 19 with persistent AF. Unipolar signals were recorded during 60 seconds from a 10-pole CS catheter during AF at baseline (BL) and after isolation of left and right pulmonary veins and after additional lines in the left atrium (LA) (End). Correlation function analysis was applied to signals from each pair of adjacent electrodes, and graphs of cumulated time delay were made to enable interpretation of direction of activation. RESULTS: Correlation between paired signals was highest in the distal and middle parts of CS and lowest in the proximal CS. In 21 patients, correlation values greater than 0.8 between closely spaced electrodes suggested uniform propagation of the fibrillatory waves. In 18 of 21 patients, preferential conduction pattern along CS was seen. Of those, 15 patients had left-to-right conduction, and 3 had right-to-left conduction. During ablation, atrial fibrillation cycle length increased from 184 ± 32 milliseconds at BL to 193 ± 39 milliseconds after pulmonary vein isolation and 215 ± 39 milliseconds at the end of ablation (P = .03, BL vs End). Because of ablation, preferential conduction along CS changed in 4 patients from left to right at BL to simultaneous CS activation or right to left. In 1 of 3 patients with simultaneous activation at BL, the direction changed to right to left. No direction change was observed in any of the 3 patients with right-to-left activation at BL. CONCLUSIONS: Atrial activation during AF exhibits a high degree of organization in distal and middle CS. Preferential conduction patterns observed in most patients may indicate either relatively dominant stable reentry circuits in the LA or activation spread from a focal source. The changes in preferential conduction during ablation of AF may reflect modification of AF substrate and indicate persistent right atrial sources not affected by ablation in the LA only.

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  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-163
JournalJournal of Electrocardiology
Volume44
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes