OBJECTIVE: To investigate mechanisms by which atrial fibrillation (AF) may terminate during ablation near the pulmonary veins before the veins are isolated (PVI).INTRODUCTION: It remains unstudied how AF may terminate during ablation before PVs are isolated, or how patients with PV reconnection can be arrhythmia-free. We studied patients in whom PV antral ablation terminated AF before PVI, using two independent mapping methods.METHODS: We studied patients with AF referred for ablation, in whom biatrial contact basket electrograms were studied by both an activation/phase mapping method and by a second validated mapping method reported not to create false rotational activity.RESULTS: In 22 patients (age 60.1 ± 10.4, 36% persistent AF), ablation at sites near the PVs terminated AF (77% to sinus rhythm) prior to PVI. AF propagation revealed rotational (n=20) and focal (n=2) patterns at sites of termination by mapping method 1 and method 2. Both methods showed organized sites that were spatially concordant (P<0.001) with similar stability (P<0.001). Vagal slowing was not observed at sites of AF termination.DISCUSSION: PV antral regions where ablation terminated AF before PVI exhibited rotational and focal activation by two independent mapping methods. These data provide an alternative mechanism for the success of PVI, and may explain AF termination before PVI or lack of arrhythmias despite PV reconnection. Mapping such sites may enable targeted PV lesion sets and improved freedom from AF.
View details for PubMedID 29377478