High bi-atrial organization in patients with long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation terminated within the left atrium
Sustained atrial fibrillation (AF) is maintained by sites displaying high dominant frequency (DF). In patients (pts) with long-standing persistent AF (LS-pAF), their spatial distribution and the presence of a left-to-right atrial DF gradient remain poorly known. We hypothesized that the pre-ablation bi-atrial frequency characteristics of LS-pAF pts terminated within the left atrium (LT) are different from that of non terminated (NT) ones. Methods: 23 consecutive pts (59±7y, LS-pAF duration 19±12m) underwent stepwise catheter ablation (step-CA) consisting in pulmonary veins isolation, left atrial (LA) defragmentation, and right atrial (RA) ablations for non terminated AF. A quadripolar catheter (CAT) was placed into the RA appendage (RAA), a decapolar CAT into the coronary sinus (CS) and a duodecapolar CAT into the LA divided into 8 segments. For each segment, 20-sec of bipolar recording was acquired. The DF was defined as the largest peak in the power spectrum (3-15 Hz). The inter-atrial DF gradient was defined as the DF difference between LA and RA appendages. Results: LS-pAF was terminated in 83% (19/23) of the pts: 17 LT, 2 during RA ablation and 4 NT. The figure shows that before ablation bi-atrial DF values of LT pts are significantly lower than that of NT pts for each LA segment as well as for the RAA (p < 0.05). No significant LA-to-RA DF gradient was observed both for LT (0.3±0.5 Hz, p=ns) and NT (0.5±0.03 Hz, p=ns) pts. No significant difference in DF values was observed between LA segments. Conclusions: The lower DF of LT pts is suggestive of a higher organization within both atria compared to NT pts. Our findings suggest that low bi-atrial DF values, but not inter-atrial DF gradient, might be of interest for selecting LS-pAF candidates for sinus rhythm restoration by step-CA.