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Heart Rhythm. 2009 Jul;6(7):1000-6. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2009.03.050. Epub 2009 Mar 31.

Left atrial remodeling in patients with atrial septal defects.

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Cardiovascular Research Centre, Department of Cardiology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia.



Information regarding left atrial (LA) substrate in conditions predisposing to atrial fibrillation (AF) is limited.


This study sought to characterize the left atrial remodeling that results from chronic atrial stretch caused by atrial septal defect (ASD).


Eleven patients with hemodynamically significant ASDs and 12 control subjects were studied. The following were evaluated using multipolar catheters: effective refractory period (ERP) at 7 sites, P-wave duration (PWD), conduction time, and inducibility of AF. LA electroanatomic maps were created to determine atrial activation, and regional conduction and voltage abnormalities.


Patients with ASDs showed significant LA enlargement (P <0.001), unchanged or prolonged atrial ERPs, increase in LA conduction times (P = 0.03), prolonged PWD (P <0.001), regional conduction slowing (P <0.001), greater number of double potentials or fractionated electrograms (P <0.0001), reduced atrial voltage (P <0.001), and more frequent electrical scar (P = 0.005) compared with control subjects. In addition, patients with ASDs showed a greater propensity for sustained AF with single extrastimuli (4 of 11 vs. 0 of 12, P = 0.04).


ASDs are associated with chronic left atrial stretch, which results in remodeling characterized by LA enlargement, loss of myocardium, and electrical scar that results in widespread conduction abnormalities but with no change or an increase in ERP. These abnormalities were associated with a greater propensity for sustained AF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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