Recovery of mitral isthmus conduction leads to the development of macro-reentrant tachycardia after left atrial linear ablation for atrial fibrillation

Navinder Sawhney, Kislay Anand, Clare E Robertson, Taylor Wurdeman, Ramtin Anousheh, Gregory K Feld
Circulation. Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology 2011, 4 (6): 832-7

BACKGROUND: Left atrial linear ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF) may be proarrhythmic, leading to left atrial macro-reentrant tachycardia (LAT). Whether due to failure to achieve block initially or to recovery of conduction after ablation is unknown. This study was designed to evaluate the frequency of recovery of mitral isthmus (MI) conduction compared with cavo-tricuspid isthmus (CTI) conduction, and the relationship between recovery of MI conduction and postablation LAT.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Of 163 patients with AF who underwent circumferential pulmonary vein ablation plus left atrial linear ablation, in whom MI and CTI ablation produced bidirectional conduction block, 52 underwent repeat ablation for recurrent atrial arrhythmias (AF or LAT). Of these 52 patients, coronary sinus ablation was required in 48 to achieve bidirectional MI block at the index ablation. During repeat ablation, MI and CTI conduction was assessed in sinus rhythm. At repeat ablation, MI conduction had recovered in 38 of 52 patients, as compared with CTI conduction which recovered in only 12 of 52 patients (P=0.001). At repeat ablation, the recurrent clinical arrhythmia in 12 patients was MI-dependent LAT. Recovery of MI conduction was associated with development of MI-dependent LAT (P=0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Despite using bidirectional conduction block as a procedural end point, recovery of MI conduction is common and may lead to LAT after left atrial linear ablation for AF. The reason for greater recovery of MI versus CTI conduction is unknown but could be due to differences in isthmus anatomy or lower power used for ablation in the left versus right atrium.

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