Comparison of preexisting and ablation-induced late gadolinium enhancement on left atrial magnetic resonance imaging

Kotaro Fukumoto, Mohammadali Habibi, Esra Gucuk Ipek, Irfan M. Khurram, Stefan L. Zimmerman, Vadim Zipunnikov, David D. Spragg, Hiroshi Ashikaga, John Rickard, Joseph E. Marine, Ronald D. Berger, Hugh Calkins, Saman Nazarian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Postablation atrial fibrillation recurrence is positively associated with the extent of preexisting left atrial (LA) late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but negatively associated with the extent of postablation LGE regardless of proximity to the pulmonary vein antra. The characteristics of pre- vs postablation LA LGE may provide insight into this seeming paradox and inform future strategies for ablation. Objective The purpose of this study was to define the characteristics of preexisting vs ablation-induced LA LGE. Methods LGE-MRI was prospectively performed before and ≥3 months after initial ablation in 20 patients. The intracardiac locations of ablation points were coregistered with the corresponding sites on axial planes of postablation LGE-MRI. The image intensity ratio (IIR), defined as the LA myocardial MRI signal intensity divided by the mean LA blood pool intensity, and LA myocardial wall thickness were calculated on pre- and postablation images. Results Imaging data from 409 pairs of pre- and postablation axial LGE-MRI planes and 6961 pairs of pre- and postablation image sectors were analyzed. Ablation-induced LGE revealed a higher IIR, suggesting greater contrast uptake and denser fibrosis, than did preexisting LGE (1.25 ± 0.25 vs 1.14 ± 0.15; P <.001). In addition, ablation-induced LGE regions had thinner LA myocardium (2.10 ± 0.67 mm vs 2.37 ± 0.74 mm; P <.001). Conclusion Regions with ablation-induced LGE exhibit increased contrast uptake, likely signifying higher scar density, and thinner myocardium as compared with regions with preexisting LGE. Future studies examining the association of postablation LGE intensity and nonuniformity with ablation success are warranted and may inform strategies to optimize ablation outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-672
Number of pages5
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Catheterablation
  • Fibrosis
  • Lategadoliniumenhancement
  • MRI
  • trial fibrillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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