Three-dimensional atrial wall thickness maps to inform catheter ablation procedures for atrial fibrillation

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Abstract

AIMS: Transmural lesion formation is critical to success in atrial fibrillation ablation and is dependent on left atrial wall thickness (LAWT). Pre- and peri-procedural planning may benefit from LAWT measurements.

METHODS AND RESULTS: To calculate the LAWT, the Laplace equation was solved over a finite element mesh of the left atrium derived from the segmented computed tomographic angiography (CTA) dataset. Local LAWT was then calculated from the length of field lines derived from the Laplace solution that spanned the wall from the endocardium or epicardium. The method was validated on an atrium phantom and retrospectively applied to 10 patients who underwent routine coronary CTA for standard clinical indications at our institute. The Laplace wall thickness algorithm was validated on the left atrium phantom. Wall thickness measurements had errors of <0.2 mm for thicknesses of 0.5-5.0 mm that are attributed to image resolution and segmentation artefacts. Left atrial wall thickness measurements were performed on 10 patients. Successful comprehensive LAWT maps were generated in all patients from the coronary CTA images. Mean LAWT measurements ranged from 0.6 to 1.0 mm and showed significant inter and intra patient variability.

CONCLUSIONS: Left atrial wall thickness can be measured robustly and efficiently across the whole left atrium using a solution of the Laplace equation over a finite element mesh of the left atrium. Further studies are indicated to determine whether the integration of LAWT maps into pre-existing 3D anatomical mapping systems may provide important anatomical information for guiding radiofrequency ablation.

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