Standardized review of atrial anatomy for cardiac electrophysiologists

J Cardiovasc Transl Res. 2013 Apr;6(2):124-44. doi: 10.1007/s12265-013-9447-2. Epub 2013 Feb 7.


Catheter ablation of cardiac arrhythmias has rapidly evolved from a highly experimental procedure to a standard form of therapy for various tachyarrhythmias. The advances in this field have included, first, the development of techniques of catheter ablation that often requires the precise destruction of minute amounts of arrhythmogenic tissues and, second, techniques of resynchronization therapy that require pacing different parts of the ventricles. A detailed prepocedural knowledge of cardiac anatomy can improve the safety of the procedure and its rate success. It helps the electrophysiologist to choose the appropiate region for ablation, shortening the procedural time. The atrial anatomy structures are usually localized before ablation by different imaging techniques such as fluoroscopy, electroanatomic mapping, intracardiac echocardiography or multidetector computed tomography. In this review, we describe the normal anatomy of the atria, highlighting the landmarks of interest to intervencional cardiologist, stressing their relationship to other structures. This article is part of a JCTR special issue on Cardiac Anatomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anatomic Landmarks
  • Animals
  • Atrial Fibrillation / pathology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / surgery
  • Atrial Flutter / pathology*
  • Atrial Flutter / surgery
  • Catheter Ablation
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac
  • Heart Atria / pathology
  • Heart Conduction System / pathology*
  • Heart Conduction System / surgery
  • Heart Septum / pathology
  • Humans
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests