Noninvasive localization of maximal frequency sites of atrial fibrillation by body surface potential mapping

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2013 Apr;6(2):294-301. doi: 10.1161/CIRCEP.112.000167. Epub 2013 Feb 26.


Background: Ablation of high-frequency sources in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) is an effective therapy to restore sinus rhythm. However, this strategy may be ineffective in patients without a significant dominant frequency (DF) gradient. The aim of this study was to investigate whether sites with high-frequency activity in human AF can be identified noninvasively, which should help intervention planning and therapy.

Methods and results: In 14 patients with a history of AF, 67-lead body surface recordings were simultaneously registered with 15 endocardial electrograms from both atria including the highest DF site, which was predetermined by atrial-wide real-time frequency electroanatomical mapping. Power spectra of surface leads and the body surface location of the highest DF site were compared with intracardiac information. Highest DFs found on specific sites of the torso showed a significant correlation with DFs found in the nearest atrium (ρ=0.96 for right atrium and ρ=0.92 for left atrium) and the DF gradient between them (ρ=0.93). The spatial distribution of power on the surface showed an inverse relationship between the frequencies versus the power spread area, consistent with localized fast sources as the AF mechanism with fibrillatory conduction elsewhere.

Conclusions: Spectral analysis of body surface recordings during AF allows a noninvasive characterization of the global distribution of the atrial DFs and the identification of the atrium with the highest frequency, opening the possibility for improved noninvasive personalized diagnosis and treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / surgery
  • Body Surface Potential Mapping / methods*
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Atria / physiopathology
  • Heart Atria / surgery
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology*
  • Heart Conduction System / surgery
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome