Background: Atrial fibrillation ablation-related atrial tachycardia (AT) is complex and may demonstrate several forms: anatomic macroreentrant AT (AMAT), non-AMAT, and focal AT. We aimed to elucidate the recurrence rate and mechanisms of atrial fibrillation ablation-related AT recurrence.
Methods: Among 147 patients with ATs treated with the Rhythmia system, 68 (46.3%) had recurrence at mean 4.2 (2.9-11.6) months, and 44 patients received a redo procedure. AT circuits in the first procedure were compared with those in the redo procedure.
Results: Although mappable ATs were not observed in 7 patients, 68 ATs were observed in 37 patients during the first procedure: perimitral flutter (PMF) in 26 patients, roof-dependent macroreentrant AT (RMAT) in 18, peritricuspid flutter in 10, non-AMAT in 14, and focal AT in 3. During the redo AT ablation procedure, 54 ATs were observed in 41/44 patients: PMF in 24, RMAT in 14, peritricuspid flutter in 1, non-AMAT in 14, and focal AT in 1. Recurrence of PMF and RMAT was observed in 15 of 26 (57.7%) and 8 of 18 (44.4%) patients, respectively, while peritricuspid flutter did not recur. Neither the same focal AT nor the same non-AMAT were observed except in 1 case with septal scar-related biatrial AT. Epicardial structure-related ATs were involved in 18 of 24 (75.0%) patients in PMF, 4 of 14 (28.6%) in RMAT, and 4 of 14 (28.6%) in non-AMAT. Of 21 patients with a circuit including epicardial structures, 6 patients treated with ethanol infusion in the vein of Marshall did not show any AT recurrence, although 8 of 15 (53.3%) treated with radiofrequency showed AT recurrence (P=0.04).
Conclusions: Although high-resolution mapping may lead to correct diagnosis and appropriate ablation in the first procedure, the recurrence rate is still high. The main mechanism of atrial fibrillation ablation-related AT is the recurrence of PMF and RMAT or non-AMAT different from the first procedure. Epicardial structures (eg, coronary sinus/vein of Marshall system) are often involved, and ethanol infusion in the vein of Marshall may be an additional treatment.
Keywords: atrial fibrillation; catheter ablation; cicatrix; ethanol; humans.