Spectral analysis identifies sites of high-frequency activity maintaining atrial fibrillation in humans

Prashanthan Sanders, Omer Berenfeld, Mélèze Hocini, Pierre Jaïs, Ravi Vaidyanathan, Li Fern Hsu, Stéphane Garrigue, Yoshihide Takahashi, Martin Rotter, Fréderic Sacher, Christophe Scavée, Robert Ploutz-Snyder, José Jalife, Michel Haïssaguerre

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Background-The identification of sites of dominant activation frequency during atrial fibrillation (AF) in humans and the effect of ablation at these sites have not been reported. Methods and Results-Thirty-two patients undergoing AF ablation (19 paroxysmal, 13 permanent) during ongoing arrhythmia were studied. Electroanatomic mapping was performed, acquiring 126±13 points per patient throughout both atria and coronary sinus. At each point, 5-second electrograms were obtained to determine the highest-amplitude frequency on spectral analysis and to construct 3D dominant frequency (DF) maps. The temporal stability of the recording interval was confirmed in a subset. Ablation was performed with the operator blinded to the DF maps. The effect of ablation at sites with or without high-frequency DF sites (maximal frequencies surrounded by a decreasing frequency gradient ≥20%) was evaluated by determining the change in AF cycle length (AFCL) and the termination and inducibility of AF. The spatial distribution of the DF sites was different in patients with paroxysmal and permanent AF; paroxysmal AF patients were more likely to harbor the DF site within the pulmonary vein, whereas in permanent AF, atrial DF sites were more prevalent. Ablation at a DF site resulted in significant prolongation of the AFCL (180±30 to 198±40 ms; P<.0001; κ= 0.77), whereas in the absence of a DF site, there was no change in AFCL (169±22 to 170±22 ms; P=0.4). AF terminated during ablation in 17 of 19 patients with paroxysmal and 0 of 13 with permanent AF (P<0.0001). When 2 patients with nonsustained AF during mapping were excluded, 13 of 15 (87%) had AF termination at DF sites (54% at the initially ablated DF site): 11 pulmonary veins and 2 atrial. In addition, AF could no longer be induced in 69% with termination of AF at a DF site. There were no significant differences in the number or percentage of DF sites detected (5.4±1.6 versus 4.9±2.1; P=0.3) and ablated (1.9±1.0 versus 2.4±1.0; P=03) in those with and without AF termination. The duration of radiofrequency ablation to achieve termination was significantly shorter than that delivered in those with persisting AF (34.8±24.0 versus 73.5±22.9 minutes; P=0.0002). All patients with persisting AF had additional DF sites outside the ablated zones, Conclusions Spectral analysis and frequency mapping identify localized sites of high-frequency activity during AF in humans with different distributions in paroxysmal and permanent AF. Ablation at these sites results in prolongation of the AFCL and termination of paroxysmal AF, indicating their role in the maintenance of AF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-797
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 9 Aug 2005


  • Ablation
  • Atrium
  • Fibrillation
  • Mapping
  • Remodeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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