Left atrial voltage mapping: defining and targeting the atrial fibrillation substrate

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Low atrial endocardial bipolar voltage, measured during catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF), is a commonly used surrogate marker for the presence of atrial fibrosis. Low voltage shows many useful associations with clinical outcomes, comorbidities and has links to trigger sites for AF. Several contemporary trials have shown promise in targeting low voltage areas as the substrate for AF ablation; however, the results have been mixed. In order to understand these results, a thorough understanding of voltage mapping techniques, the relationship between low voltage and the pathophysiology of AF, as well as the inherent limitations in voltage measurement are needed. Two key questions must be answered in order to optimally apply voltage mapping as the road map for ablation. First, are the inherent limitations of voltage mapping small enough as to be ignored when targeting specific tissue based on voltage? Second, can conventional criteria, using a binary threshold for voltage amplitude, truly define the extent of the atrial fibrotic substrate? Here, we review the latest clinical evidence with regard to voltage-based ablation procedures before analysing the utility and limitations of voltage mapping. Finally, we discuss omnipole mapping and dynamic voltage attenuation as two possible approaches to resolving these issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-227
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology
Issue number3
Early online date10 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Atrial ablation
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Atrial fibrosis
  • Bipolar voltage


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