Atrial fibrillation (AF) resumes within 90 s in 27% of patients after sinus rhythm (SR) restoration. The aim of this study is to compare conduction heterogeneity during the supervulnerable period immediately after electrical cardioversion (ECV) with long-term SR in patients with AF. Epicardial mapping of both atria was performed during SR and premature atrial extrasystoles in patients in the ECV (N = 17, age: 73 ± 7 years) and control group (N = 17, age: 71 ± 6 years). Inter-electrode conduction times were used to identify areas of conduction delay (CD) (conduction times 7-11 ms) and conduction block (CB) (conduction times ≥ 12 ms). For all atrial regions, prevalences and length of longest CB and continuous CDCB lines, magnitude of conduction disorders, conduction velocity, biatrial activation time, and voltages did not differ between the ECV and control group during both SR and premature atrial extrasystoles (p ≥ 0.05). Hence, our data suggest that there may be no difference in biatrial conduction characteristics between the supervulnerable period after ECV and long-term SR in AF patients. The supervulnerable period after AF termination is not determined by conduction heterogeneity during SR and PACs. It is unknown to what extent intra-atrial conduction is impaired during the supervulnerable period immediately after ECV and whether different right and left atrial regions are equally affected. This high-resolution epicardial mapping study (upper left panel) of both atria shows that during SR the prevalences and length of longest CB and cCDCB lines (upper middle panel), magnitude of conduction disorders, CV and TAT (lower left panel), and voltages did not differ between the ECV and control group. Likewise, these parameters were comparable during PACs between the ECV and control group (lower left panel). †Non-normally distributed. cm/s = centimeters per second; mm = millimeter; ms = millisecond; AF = atrial fibrillation; AT = activation time; BB = Bachmann's bundle; cCDCB = continuous lines of conduction delay and block; CB = conduction block; CD = conduction delay; CT = conduction time; CV = conduction velocity; ECV = electrical cardioversion; LA = left atrium; LAT = local activation times; PAC = premature atrial complexes; PVA = pulmonary vein area; RA = right atrium; SR = sinus rhythm; TAT = total activation time.
Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Atrial remodeling; Conduction disorders; Conduction velocity; Electrical cardioversion; Electrophysiology.
© 2022. The Author(s).