Highest dominant frequency and rotor positions are robust markers of driver location during noninvasive mapping of atrial fibrillation: A computational study

Heart Rhythm. 2017 Aug;14(8):1224-1233. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2017.04.017. Epub 2017 Apr 10.


Background: Dominant frequency (DF) and rotor mapping have been proposed as noninvasive techniques to guide localization of drivers maintaining atrial fibrillation (AF).

Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the robustness of both techniques in identifying atrial drivers noninvasively under the effect of electrical noise or model uncertainties.

Methods: Inverse-computed DFs and phase maps were obtained from 30 different mathematical AF simulations. Epicardial highest dominant frequency (HDF) regions and rotor location were compared with the same inverse-computed measurements after addition of noise to the ECG, size variations of the atria, and linear or angular deviations in the atrial location inside the thorax.

Results: Inverse-computed electrograms (EGMs) individually correlated poorly with the original EGMs in the absence of induced uncertainties (0.45 ± 0.12) and were worse with 10-dB noise (0.22 ± 0.11), 3-cm displacement (0.01 ± 0.02), or 36° rotation (0.02 ± 0.03). However, inverse-computed HDF regions showed robustness against induced uncertainties: from 82% ± 18% match for the best conditions, down to 73% ± 23% for 10-dB noise, 77% ± 21% for 5-cm displacement, and 60% ± 22% for 36° rotation. The distance from the inverse-computed rotor to the original rotor was also affected by uncertainties: 0.8 ± 1.61 cm for the best conditions, 2.4 ± 3.6 cm for 10-dB noise, 4.3 ± 3.2 cm for 4-cm displacement, and 4.0 ± 2.1 cm for 36° rotation. Restriction of rotor detections to the HDF area increased rotor detection accuracy from 4.5 ± 4.5 cm to 3.2 ± 3.1 cm (P <.05) with 0-dB noise.

Conclusion: The combination of frequency and phase-derived measurements increases the accuracy of noninvasive localization of atrial rotors driving AF in the presence of noise and uncertainties in atrial location or size.

Keywords: Dominant frequency; Dominant region; Electrocardiographic imaging; Inverse problem; Rotor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / surgery
  • Body Surface Potential Mapping / methods*
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac / methods
  • Heart Atria / physiopathology*
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Patient-Specific Modeling*
  • Reproducibility of Results