Organized incessant atrial arrhythmias in the setting of severe, isolated biatrial scarring

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2008 Jun;31(6):666-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8159.2008.01069.x.


Introduction: Diffuse transmural fibrosis and scarring limited to the area without atrial dilation or significant structural heart or other systemic disease has not been reported. We present three cases of a syndrome characterized by refractory organized atrial arrhythmias, diffuse atrial scarring with electrical silence, and mechanical paralysis in the absence of atrial dilation or any systemic or neurodegenerative disorders.

Methods: Patients referred for electrophysiology study of atrial arrhythmias were included. Electroanatomic mapping with the Carto system (Biosense Webster, Diamond Bar, CA, USA) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with scar sequencing were performed.

Results: There was no family or personal history of cardiac, muscular, or developmental diseases. All patients had organized atrial arrhythmias. Echocardiograms showed atrial standstill with normal atrial and ventricular dimensions. No other structural abnormalities were noted. Carto mapping revealed severe biatrial diffuse scarring. The left atrial (LA) was less affected than the right atrial (RA). MRI findings confirmed biatrial scarring. During tachycardia, islands of dissociated electrical activity could be seen in the right atria. Entrainment mapping was not performed in the atria as high-output pacing could not capture the atria. Coronary sinus entrainment demonstrated the coronary sinus(CS) not to be critical to the tachycardia. Ablation was targeted toward channels of low voltage but was not successful in any cases. All required atrioventricular (AV) nodal ablation with pacing.

Conclusion: An association between biatrial cardiomyopathy and scarring with normal atrial dimensions has been described. Since severe scarring has not been reported with organized arrhythmias this may represent a new syndrome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis*
  • Cardiomyopathies / diagnosis*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cicatrix / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Syndrome