Background: One approach to improve ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF) is to focus on physiological targets including focal or rotational sources or ganglionic plexi (GP). However, the spatial relationship between these potential mechanisms has never been studied. We tested the hypothesis that rotors and focal sources for AF may co-localize with ganglionated plexi (GP).
Methods: We prospectively identified locations of AF rotors and focal sources, and correlated these to GP sites in 97 consecutive patients (age 59.9±11.4, 73% persistent AF). AF was recorded with 64-pole catheters with activation/phase mapping, and related to anatomic GP sites on electroanatomic maps.
Results: AF sources arose in 96/97 (99%) patients for 2.6±1.4 sources per patient (left atrium: 1.7±0.9 right atrium: 1.1±0.8), each with an area of 2-3cm2. On area analyses, the probability of an AF source randomly overlapping a GP area was 26%. Left atrial sources were seen in 94 (97%) patients, in whom ≥1 source co-localized with GP in 75 patients (80%; p<0.05). AF sources were more likely to colocalize with left vs right GPs (p<0.05), and colocalization was more likely in patients with higher CHADS2VASc scores (age>65, diabetes; p<0.05).
Conclusions: This is the first study to demonstrate that clinically detected AF focal and rotational sources in the left atrium often colocalize with regions of autonomic innervation. Studies should define if the role of AF sources differs by their anatomical location.
Keywords: Ablation; Atrial fibrillation; Autonomic nervous system; Ganglionated plexi; Rotor.
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