Influence of atrial substrate on local capture induced by rapid pacing of atrial fibrillation
Preliminary studies showed that the septum area was the only location allowing local capture of both the atria during rapid pacing of atrial fibrillation (AF) from a single site. The present model-based study investigated the influence of atrial substrate on the ability to capture AF when pacing the septum. Three biophysical models of AF with an identical anatomy from human atria but with different AF substrates were used: (i) AF based on multiple wavelets, (ii) AF based on heterogeneities in vagal activation, (iii) AF based on heterogeneities in repolarization. A fourth anatomical model without Bachmann's bundle (BB) was also implemented. Rapid pacing was applied from the septum at pacing cycle lengths in the range of 50-100% of AF cycle length. Local capture was automatically assessed with 24 pairs of electrodes evenly distributed on the atrial surface. The results were averaged over 16 AF simulations. In the homogeneous substrate, AF capture could reach 80% of the atrial surface. Heterogeneities degraded the ability to capture during AF. In the vagal substrate, the capture tended to be more regular and the degradation of the capture was not directly related to the spatial extent of the heterogeneities. In the third substrate, heterogeneities induced wave anchorings and wavebreaks even in areas close to the pacing site, with a more dramatic effect on AF capture. Finally, BB did not significantly affect the ability to capture. Atrial fibrillation substrate had a significant effect on rapid pacing outcomes. The response to therapeutic pacing may therefore be specific to each patient.