Fractionated atrial electrograms during sinus rhythm: Relationship to age, voltage, and conduction velocity

Kurt C. Roberts-Thomson, Peter M. Kistler, Prashanthan Sanders, Joseph B. Morton, Haris M. Haqqani, Irene Stevenson, Jitendra K. Vohra, Paul B. Sparks, Jonathan M. Kalman

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Background: Fractionated atrial electrograms (CFAEs) have been implicated in the mechanism of atrial fibrillation (AF). The prevalence and distribution of CFAEs in normal populations have not been clearly defined. Objective: This study sought to determine the influence of age on CFAEs and investigate the relationship between CFAEs and the underlying atrial substrate. Methods: Twenty-one patients without structural heart disease underwent electroanatomic mapping of their right atrium (RA). Patients were categorized into 3 groups according to age: group A, patients <30 years (25.1 ± 3.1 years, n = 7); group B, patients between 31 and 59 years (51.7 ± 10.3 years, n = 6); group C, patients >60 years (66.9 ± 7.7 years, n = 8). The proportion of points with CFAEs was analyzed for the high and low septal RA, high and low lateral RA, and high and low posterior RA. The mean atrial voltage and conduction velocity were assessed in each of these regions. Results: The percentage of CFAEs was greater in group C (14.6% ± 7.7%) than in group A (2.7% ± 2.1%; P = 0.001). The percentage of CFAEs in group B (8.5% ± 3.5%) was not significantly different from that in group A (P = 0.21) and group C (P = 0.14). The CFAEs were predominantly located in the posterior RA and high septal RA. There were significant correlations between the proportion of CFAEs and age (R = 0.72; P < 0.01), atrial voltage (R = -0.57; P < 0.01), and conduction velocity (R = -0.73; P < 0.001). Conclusion: CFAEs increase with age and occur in regions of low atrial voltage and slowed conduction. The distribution of CFAE is predominantly along the posterior and high septal RA, regions where there are marked changes in myocardial fiber orientation. This suggests that the underlying myocardial architecture is the main influence on electrogram morphology. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-591
Number of pages5
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 May 2009


  • Age
  • Atrium
  • Conduction velocity
  • Fractionated electrograms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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