Linear left atrial lesions in minimally invasive surgical ablation of persistent atrial fibrillation: techniques for assessing conduction block across surgical lesions

Deborah Lockwood, Hiroshi Nakagawa, Marvin D Peyton, James R Edgerton, Benjamin J Scherlag, Chittur A Sivaram, Sunny S Po, Karen J Beckman, Moeen Abedin, Warren M Jackman
Heart Rhythm: the Official Journal of the Heart Rhythm Society 2009, 6 (12 Suppl): S50-63
Minimally invasive surgical (MIS) ablation, with pulmonary vein (PV) isolation and ganglionated plexi (GP) ablation, has proven highly successful for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation but has limited success in patients with persistent and long-standing persistent (P-LSP) AF. A set of linear left atrial (LA) lesions has been added to interrupt some macroreentrant components of P-LSP AF. This includes a Transverse Roof Line and Left Fibrous Trigone Line (from Roof Line to mitral annulus at the left fibrous trigone). With complete conduction block (CCB), these lesions should prevent single- or double-loop macroreentrant LA tachycardias from propagating around the PVs or mitral annulus. It is critical to identify whether CCB has been achieved and, if not, to locate the gap for further ablation, since residual gaps will support macroreentrant atrial tachycardias. Confirming CCB involves pacing close to one side of the ablation line and determining the direction of activation on the opposite side, by recording close bipolar electrograms at multiple paired sites (perpendicular and close to the ablation line) along the entire length of the line. Simpler approaches have been used, but all have limitations, especially when the conduction time across a gap is long. The extended lesion set was created after PV isolation and GP ablation in 14 patients with P-LSP AF. Mapping after the first set of radiofrequency applications for the Transverse Roof and Left Trigone Lines confirmed CCB in only 3/14 (21%) patients for each line, showing the importance of checking for CCB. During follow-up (median 8 months), 10/14 (71%) patients had no symptoms of atrial arrhythmia (7/10 off antiarrhythmic drugs). Of the remaining four patients, three have only infrequent episodes (self-terminating in 2/3). These preliminary results suggest that adding Roof and Trigone Lines may increase MIS success in patients with P-LSP AF. Accurate mapping techniques verify CCB and effectively locate gaps in ablation lines for further ablation.

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