Noninvasive Assessment of Complexity of Atrial Fibrillation: Correlation With Contact Mapping and Impact of Ablation

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2020 Mar;13(3):e007700. doi: 10.1161/CIRCEP.119.007700. Epub 2020 Feb 13.


Background: It is difficult to noninvasively phenotype atrial fibrillation (AF) in a way that reflects clinical end points such as response to therapy. We set out to map electrical patterns of disorganization and regions of reentrant activity in AF from the body surface using electrocardiographic imaging, calibrated to panoramic intracardiac recordings and referenced to AF termination by ablation.

Methods: Bi-atrial intracardiac electrograms of 47 patients with AF at ablation (30 persistent, 29 male, 63±9 years) were recorded with 64-pole basket catheters and simultaneous 57-lead body surface ECGs. Atrial epicardial electrical activity was reconstructed and organized sites were invasively and noninvasively tracked in 3-dimension using phase singularity. In a subset of 17 patients, sites of AF organization were targeted for ablation.

Results: Body surface mapping showed greater AF organization near intracardially detected drivers than elsewhere, both in phase singularity density (2.3±2.1 versus 1.9±1.6; P=0.02) and number of drivers (3.2±2.3 versus 2.7±1.7; P=0.02). Complexity, defined as the number of stable AF reentrant sites, was concordant between noninvasive and invasive methods (r2=0.5; CC=0.71). In the subset receiving targeted ablation, AF complexity showed lower values in those in whom AF terminated than those in whom AF did not terminate (P<0.01).

Conclusions: AF complexity tracked noninvasively correlates well with organized and disorganized regions detected by panoramic intracardiac mapping and correlates with the acute outcome by ablation. This approach may assist in bedside monitoring of therapy or in improving the efficacy of ongoing ablation procedures.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; electrocardiography; goal; male; pulmonary vein.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / surgery
  • Body Surface Potential Mapping / methods*
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Atria / physiopathology*
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome