Aims: Inadequate modification of the atrial fibrotic substrate necessary to sustain re-entrant drivers (RDs) may explain atrial fibrillation (AF) recurrence following failed pulmonary vein isolation (PVI). Personalized computational models of the fibrotic atrial substrate derived from late gadolinium enhanced (LGE)-magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to non-invasively determine the presence of RDs. The objective of this study is to assess the changes of the arrhythmogenic propensity of the fibrotic substrate after PVI. Methods and results: Pre- and post-ablation individualized left atrial models were constructed from 12 AF patients who underwent pre- and post-PVI LGE-MRI, in six of whom PVI failed. Pre-ablation AF sustained by RDs was induced in 10 models. RDs in the post-ablation models were classified as either preserved or emergent. Pre-ablation models derived from patients for whom the procedure failed exhibited a higher number of RDs and larger areas defined as promoting RD formation when compared with atrial models from patients who had successful ablation, 2.6 ± 0.9 vs. 1.8 ± 0.2 and 18.9 ± 1.6% vs. 13.8 ± 1.5%, respectively. In cases of successful ablation, PVI eliminated completely the RDs sustaining AF. Preserved RDs unaffected by ablation were documented only in post-ablation models of patients who experienced recurrent AF (2/5 models); all of these models had also one or more emergent RDs at locations distinct from those of pre-ablation RDs. Emergent RDs occurred in regions that had the same characteristics of the fibrosis spatial distribution (entropy and density) as regions that harboured RDs in pre-ablation models. Conclusion: Recurrent AF after PVI in the fibrotic atria may be attributable to both preserved RDs that sustain AF pre- and post-ablation, and the emergence of new RDs following ablation. The same levels of fibrosis entropy and density underlie the pro-RD propensity in both pre- and post-ablation substrates.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Cardiac MRI
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)