Introduction: Activation patterns during permanent atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with organic heart diseases are unclear. Methods and Results: We studied six patients with permanent AF and organic heart diseases undergoing surgery. The duration of AF averaged 4.9 ± 7.6 years. Computerized epicardial mappings of the right atrial (RA) free wall and the left atrial (LA) posterior wall were simultaneously performed with 224 bipolar electrodes at 3-mm spatial resolution. In the RA, large wavefronts and conduction blocks were frequently observed. The lines of block correlated with the crista terminalis and large pectinate muscles. In contrast, the LA had rapid repetitive activities originated from corners of the electrode plaque, near the four pulmonary veins (PVs). On average, 2.8 ± 1.2 sites of rapid repetitive activities were identified per patient. They activated continuously, intermittently, or alternately during AF. The mean activation cycle length in the RA (196 ± 22 msec) was significantly longer than that in the LA (179 ± 26 msec; P = 0.004). The maximum dominant frequency in the LA was higher than that in the RA (6.41 ± 1.18 Hz vs 5.66 ± 0.55 Hz; P = 0.049). The maximum dominant frequency was consistently located in areas with rapid repetitive activations near the PVs. Conclusion: During human permanent AF associated with organic heart diseases, the activation cycle length was shorter in the LA posterior wall than in the RA free wall. Rapid repetitive activities are consistently observed in the LA posterior wall, at or near the PVs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)