Limitations of Unipolar Signals in Guiding Successful Outflow Tract Premature Ventricular Contraction Ablation

JACC Clin Electrophysiol. 2022 Jul;8(7):843-853. doi: 10.1016/j.jacep.2022.03.013. Epub 2022 May 25.


Background: Unipolar electrograms (UniEGMs) are commonly used to annotate earliest local activation of focal arrhythmias. However, their utility in guiding premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) ablation may be limited when the PVC source is less superficial.

Objectives: The authors sought to compare bipolar electrograms (BiEGMs) vs UniEGMs in guiding successful ablation of right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT) vs intramural outflow tract (OT) PVCs. The authors hypothesized that: 1) earliest bipolar local activation time (LATBi) would better guide mapping and ablation, vs UniEGM dV/dt (LATUni) or QS morphology; and 2) LAT differences using bipolar vs unipolar EGMs (ΔLATBi-Uni) would be greater for intramural OT than RVOT PVCs.

Methods: Consecutive patients undergoing successful PVC ablation 2017 to2020 requiring only RVOT or RVOT+left ventricular OT (RVOT+LVOT) ablation were retrospectively analyzed. BiEGMs and UniEGMs at successful ablation sites were compared.

Results: Of 70 patients, 50 required RVOT-only, and 20 required RVOT+LVOT ablation for acute and long-term PVC suppression. Mean ΔLATBi-Uni was lower for RVOT vs RVOT+LVOT groups (9.3 ± 6.4 ms vs 17.4 ± 9.9 ms; P < 0.01). QS UniEGM was seen in 78% of RVOT, compared with 53% of RVOT+LVOT patients (P < 0.016). RVOT+LVOT sites most frequently included the posteroseptal RVOT and adjacent LVOT (73%), and 43% lacked a QS unipolar EGM. ΔLATBi-Uni ≥15 ms best distinguished sites in which RVOT-only vs RVOT+LVOT ablation achieved acute PVC suppression (area under the curve: 0.77).

Conclusions: Earliest BiEGM activation guides successful ablation of OT PVCs better than UniEGM-guided analysis, especially when an intramural PVC source is present.

Keywords: activation mapping; bipolar electrogram; left ventricular outflow tract; premature ventricular contractions; right ventricular outflow tract; unipolar electrogram.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Catheter Ablation*
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Premature Complexes* / surgery