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J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2002 May;13(5):455-62.

Linear lesions provide protection from atrial fibrillation induction with rapid atrial pacing.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Section of Cardiology, University of Illinois at Chicago 60612, USA. BAvitall@uic.edu



In the animal model, segmentation of the atria with radiofrequency-generated linear lesions (LL) using the loop catheter has been shown to be highly effective in terminating chronic atrial fibrillation (AF). This study addresses the question whether the same lesion set also would prevent reinduction and sustainability of AF.


We studied two groups of dogs. The AF group included eight dogs in which the atria were paced until chronic AF was present. After 6 months of sustained AF, the dogs were converted to normal sinus rhythm (NSR) by the creation of LL in both atria. Rapid atrial pacing was restarted 6 months later and continued for 4 weeks. In the NSR group, there were nine dogs in NSR without inducible AF at baseline. LL were created, and after 6 months rapid atrial pacing was applied for 4 weeks. Rhythm status was monitored weekly. Transthoracic echocardiography was performed at baseline, before linear lesion placement, and before pacing/repacing. At the conclusion of the study, the hearts were excised and examined. The lesions were stained, and their quality was assessed. AF was induced in a much shorter interval in the dogs in which AF had previously been present than in NSR dogs (8 +/- 5 days vs 25 +/- 13 days; P < 0.05). LL prevented sustainability of AF induced via rapid pacing once the pacing stimulus was stopped. Incomplete lesions were associated with increased inducibility of atrial tachycardia and AF.


In this animal model of AF, LL are not only capable of terminating chronic AF, but also lead to self-termination of AF once the rapid pacing is stopped. Self-termination of AF after induction with rapid pacing was not observed in this AF model in the absence of LL. In the dogs with 6 months of AF, the presence of AF led to increased atrial susceptibility to AF induction by rapid pacing, even with LL and after 6 months of recovery. Incomplete LL allows induction of atrial tachycardia and AF.

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