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Variability in pulmonary vein electrophysiology and fibrosis determines arrhythmia susceptibility and dynamics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Caroline Helen Roney, Jason D Bayer, Hubert Cochet, Marianna Meo, Rémi Dubois, Pierre Jais, Edward J Vigmond

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1006166
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Issue number5
Accepted/In press30 Apr 2018
Published24 May 2018

King's Authors


Success rates for catheter ablation of persistent atrial fibrillation patients are currently low; however, there is a subset of patients for whom electrical isolation of the pulmonary veins alone is a successful treatment strategy. It is difficult to identify these patients because there are a multitude of factors affecting arrhythmia susceptibility and maintenance, and the individual contributions of these factors are difficult to determine clinically. We hypothesised that the combination of pulmonary vein (PV) electrophysiology and atrial body fibrosis determine driver location and effectiveness of pulmonary vein isolation (PVI). We used bilayer biatrial computer models based on patient geometries to investigate the effects of PV properties and atrial fibrosis on arrhythmia inducibility, maintenance mechanisms, and the outcome of PVI. Short PV action potential duration (APD) increased arrhythmia susceptibility, while longer PV APD was found to be protective. Arrhythmia inducibility increased with slower conduction velocity (CV) at the LA/PV junction, but not for cases with homogeneous CV changes or slower CV at the distal PV. Phase singularity (PS) density in the PV region for cases with PV fibrosis was increased. Arrhythmia dynamics depend on both PV properties and fibrosis distribution, varying from meandering rotors to PV reentry (in cases with baseline or long APD), to stable rotors at regions of high fibrosis density. Measurement of fibrosis and PV properties may indicate patient specific susceptibility to AF initiation and maintenance. PV PS density before PVI was higher for cases in which AF terminated or converted to a macroreentry; thus, high PV PS density may indicate likelihood of PVI success.

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