Left atrial tachycardia after circumferential pulmonary vein ablation for atrial fibrillation: electroanatomic characterization and treatment

Cézar E Mesas, Carlo Pappone, Christopher C E Lang, Filippo Gugliotta, Takeshi Tomita, Gabriele Vicedomini, Simone Sala, Gabriele Paglino, Simone Gulletta, Amedeo Ferro, Vincenzo Santinelli
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2004 September 1, 44 (5): 1071-9

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the electroanatomic characteristics of left atrial tachycardia (AT) in a series of patients who underwent circumferential pulmonary vein ablation (CPVA) and to describe the ablation strategy and clinical outcome.

BACKGROUND: Circumferential pulmonary vein ablation is an effective treatment for atrial fibrillation. A potential midterm complication is the development of left AT. There are only isolated reports describing mapping and ablation of such arrhythmias.

METHODS: Thirteen patients (age 57.4 +/- 8.9 years, five female) underwent mapping and ablation of 14 left ATs via an electroanatomic mapping system a mean of 2.6 +/- 1.6 months after CPVA.

RESULTS: Three patients were characterized as having focal AT (cycle length: 266 +/- 35.9 ms). Of 11 macro-re-entrant tachycardias studied in the remaining 10 patients (cycle length: 275 +/- 75 ms), 5 showed single-loop and 6 dual-loop circuits. Re-entrant circuits used the mitral isthmus, the posterior wall, or gaps on previous encircling lines. Such gaps and all three foci occurred anterior to the left superior pulmonary vein or at the septal aspect of the right pulmonary veins. Thirteen of 14 tachycardias (93%) were successfully ablated.

CONCLUSIONS: Left AT after CPVA can be due to a macro-re-entrant or focal mechanism. Re-entry occurs most commonly across the mitral isthmus, the posterior wall, or gaps on previous ablation lines. Such gaps and foci occur most commonly at the anterior aspect of the left superior pulmonary vein and at the septal aspect of the right pulmonary veins. These arrhythmias can be successfully mapped and ablated with an electroanatomic mapping system.

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