Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging is increasingly used to evaluate patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) before pulmonary vein antral isolation (PVAI). The purpose of this study was to assess the incidence and pattern of left ventricular (LV) late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) in patients undergoing CMR before PVAI and compare the clinical and demographic differences of patients with and without LV LGE. Clinical and demographic data on 62 patients (mean age 61 ±7.9, 69% male) undergoing CMR before PVAI for AF were collected. Two observers, masked to clinical histories, independently recorded the prevalence, extent (number of myocardial segments), and pattern (subendocardial, midmyocardial, or subepicardial) of LV LGE in each patient. Clinical and demographic predictors of LV LGE were determined using logistic regression. Twenty-three patients (37%) demonstrated LV LGE affecting a mean of 3.0 ±2.1 myocardial segments. There was no difference in LV ejection fraction between patients with and without LGE, and most (65%) patients with LGE had normal wall motion. Only age (P = 0.04) and a history of congestive heart failure (P =.03) were statistically significant independent predictors of LGE. The most common LGE pattern was midmyocardial, seen in 17 of 23 (74%) patients. Only 4 of 23 (17%) patients had LGE in an "expected" pattern based on clinical history. Of the remaining 19 patients, 4 had known congestive heart failure, 5 nonischemic cardiomyopathy, 4 known coronary artery disease, and 2 prior aortic valve replacement. Six of 23 (26%) patients had no known coronary artery, valvular, or myocardial disease. There is a high prevalence of unexpected LV scar in patients undergoing CMR before PVAI for AF, with most patients demonstrating a nonischemic pattern of LV LGE and no wall motion abnormalities (ie, subclinical disease). The high prevalence of unexpected LGE in these patients may argue for CMR as the modality of choice for imaging integration before PVAI, especially given the demonstrated prognostic value of LGE in this and other patient populations.
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