Biatrial multisite mapping of atrial premature complexes triggering onset of atrial fibrillation

Claus Schmitt, Gjin Ndrepepa, Stefan Weber, Sebastian Schmieder, Sonja Weyerbrock, Michael Schneider, Martin R. Karch, Isabel Deisenhofer, Jürgen Schreieck, Bernhard Zrenner, Albert Schömig

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129 Scopus citations


Pulmonary veins are considered to be the most common origin of the focal activity that triggers the onset of atrial fibrillation (AF). However, little is known about the importance of ectopic activity located outside the pulmonary veins. This study included 45 patients (8 women and 37 men, mean age 55 ± 12 years) with paroxysmal (n = 25) and persistent (n = 20) AF in whom multisite mapping of the right and left atria was performed using a 64-electrode basket catheter (n = 21) or a noncontact mapping system (n = 24). Spontaneous or orciprenaline-induced atrial premature complexes (APCs) were mapped. In all, 94 AF onsets from 38 distinct foci in 30 patients were observed and analyzed. Of these foci, 20 (53%) were located in pulmonary veins and 18 (47%) were located outside the pulmonary veins in other parts of the atria. In 22 patients (73%), AF was reproducibly induced by APCs from a single focus (59 episodes). In 8 patients (27%), AF originated from 2 distinct foci (35 episodes). Additionally, 20 of 30 patients (67%) who developed AF had APCs in different locations not inducing AF. APCs inducing AF had shorter coupling intervals than APCs not inducing AF (307 ± 54 vs 409 ± 76 ms, p <0.001). This study showed that 47% of ectopic foci triggering the onset of AF were located outside the pulmonary veins in extravenous parts of the left atrium and the right atrium, and 27% of patients had AF onsets of bifocal origin. These data challenge the current opinion that extrapulmonary foci play a minor role in inducing AF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1381-1387
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2002
Externally publishedYes


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