Non-invasive assessment of atrial fibrillation (AF) cycle length in man: potential application for studying AF

Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2001;37(3):341-9.


Non-invasive assessment of the fibrillatory frequency of atrial fibrillation (AF) can be performed by frequency domain analysis. The peak frequency in the derived spectrum can be converted to a dominant atrial cycle length (DACL). The DACL can be altered through autonomic modulation or pharmacologic manipulation, but the change in DACL is less marked in those with a short DACL value. In patients with AF, those with a short duration of the arrhythmia have longer DACL values. Finally, patients with paroxysmal AF generally exhibit longer DACL values than patients with permanent AF. Thus non-invasive assessment of the atrial fibrillatory cycle length provides a useful index of atrial refractoriness and has the potential of clinical utility in patient assessment and treatment planning.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / therapy
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Electric Countershock
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electrophysiology
  • Humans


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents