Epicardial adipose tissue-based defragmentation approach to persistent atrial fibrillation: its impact on complex fractionated electrograms and ablation outcome

Shiro Nakahara, Yuichi Hori, Sayuki Kobayashi, Yoshihiko Sakai, Isao Taguchi, Kan Takayanagi, Koichi Nagashima, Kazumasa Sonoda, Rikitake Kogawa, Naoko Sasaki, Ichiro Watanabe, Yasuo Okumura
Heart Rhythm: the Official Journal of the Heart Rhythm Society 2014, 11 (8): 1343-51

BACKGROUND: Increased epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) volume is associated with atrial fibrillation (AF). However, the efficacy of EAT-based left atrial (LA) ablation for persistent AF (PsAF) is unclear.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess whether EAT-based LA ablation is effective for PsAF.

METHODS: In 60 PsAF patients (group I), 3-dimensional reconstructed computed tomography images depicting EAT were merged with NavX-based dominant-frequency (DF) and complex fractionated electrogram (CFE) maps obtained during AF. Pulmonary vein antrum isolation (PVAI) was followed by map-guided EAT-based ablation. Results were compared to those in a historical control group (group II, case-matched patients who underwent generalized stepwise ablation including linear plus CFE-targeted ablation).

RESULTS: In 70% (n = 42) of group I patients, the LA-EAT was located at the pulmonary vein antra; anterior and inferior surfaces, roof, septum, and mitral annulus; and left atrial appendage. EAT was at or near (<3 mm) 71% (390/550) of high-DF (> -8 Hz) sites. In 41 patients with persistent AF despite EAT-targeted ablation, CFE burden decreased significantly (from 96% to 13%, P < .0001), and DF decreased within the coronary sinus (6.9 ± 0.7 Hz vs 5.9 ± 0.7 Hz, P < .0001). Radiofrequency energy duration was significantly less in group I than in group II (25 ± 6 minutes vs 31 ± 12 minutes, P < .05). During 16-month follow-up, freedom from AF on antiarrhythmic drugs was 78% vs 60% (P < .05).

CONCLUSION: PVAI plus EAT-based ablation efficiently eliminates high-frequency sources and yields relatively high success. EAT-based LA ablation is a simple, clinically feasible PsAF ablation strategy.

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