Atrial fibrillation and cardiac fibrosis

Eur Heart J. 2020 Mar 7;41(10):1123-1131. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehz786.


The understanding of atrial fibrillation (AF) evolved from a sole rhythm disturbance towards the complex concept of a cardiomyopathy based on arrhythmia substrates. There is evidence that atrial fibrosis can be visualized using late gadolinium enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and that it is a powerful predictor for the outcome of AF interventions. However, a strategy of an individual and fibrosis guided management of AF looks promising but results from prospective multicentre trials are pending. This review gives an overview about the relationship between cardiac fibrosis and AF focusing on translational aspects, clinical observations, and fibrosis imaging to emphasize the concept of personalized paths in AF management taking into account the individual amount and distribution of fibrosis.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Cardiac fibrosis; Catheter ablation; Remodelling.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation* / surgery
  • Catheter Ablation*
  • Contrast Media
  • Fibrosis
  • Gadolinium
  • Heart Atria / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Prospective Studies


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium