Background: Septal activation in patients with left bundle-branch block (LBBB) patterns has not been described previously. We performed detailed intracardiac mapping of left septal conduction to assess for the presence and level of complete conduction block (CCB) in the His-Purkinje system. Response to His bundle pacing was assessed in patients with and without CCB in the left bundle.
Methods: Left septal mapping was performed with a linear multielectrode catheter in consecutive patients with LBBB pattern referred for device implantation (n=38) or substrate mapping (n=47). QRS width, His duration, His-ventricular (HV) intervals, and septal conduction patterns were analyzed. The site of CCB was localized to the level of the left-sided His fibers (left intrahisian) or left bundle branch. Patients with ventricular activation preceded by Purkinje potentials were categorized as having intact Purkinje activation.
Results: A total of 88 left septal conduction recordings were analyzed in 85 patients: 72 LBBB block pattern and 16 controls (narrow QRS, n=11; right bundle-branch block, n=5). Among patients with LBB block pattern, CCB within the proximal left conduction system was observed in 64% (n=46) and intact Purkinje activation in the remaining 36% (n=26). Intact Purkinje activation was observed in all controls. The site of block in patients with CCB was at the level of the left His bundle in 72% and in the proximal left bundle branch in 28%. His bundle pacing corrected wide QRS in 54% of all patients with LBBB pattern and 85% of those with CCB (94% left intrahisian, 62% proximal left bundle-branch). No patients with intact Purkinje activation demonstrated correction of QRS with His bundle pacing. CCB showed better predictive value (positive predictive value 85%, negative predictive value 100%, sensitivity 100%) than surface ECG criteria for correction with His bundle pacing.
Conclusions: Heterogeneous septal conduction was observed in patients with surface LBBB pattern, ranging from no discrete block to CCB. When block was present, we observed pathology localized within the left-sided His fibers (left intrahisian block), which was most amenable to corrective His bundle pacing by recruitment of latent Purkinje fibers. ECG criteria for LBBB incompletely predicted CCB, and intracardiac data might be useful in refining patient selection for resynchronization therapy.
Keywords: His bundle; left bundle; pacing; resynchronization.