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Europace. 2012 Nov;14 Suppl 5:v106-v111. doi: 10.1093/europace/eus278.

Ablation of multi-wavelet re-entry: general principles and in silico analyses.

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Department of Medicine, University of Vermont College of Burlington, VT 05401, USA.



Catheter ablation strategies for treatment of cardiac arrhythmias are quite successful when targeting spatially constrained substrates. Complex, dynamic, and spatially varying substrates, however, pose a significant challenge for ablation, which delivers spatially fixed lesions. We describe tissue excitation using concepts of surface topology which provides a framework for addressing this challenge. The aim of this study was to test the efficacy of mechanism-based ablation strategies in the setting of complex dynamic substrates.


We used a computational model of propagation through electrically excitable tissue to test the effects of ablation on excitation patterns of progressively greater complexity, from fixed rotors to multi-wavelet re-entry. Our results indicate that (i) focal ablation at a spiral-wave core does not result in termination; (ii) termination requires linear lesions from the tissue edge to the spiral-wave core; (iii) meandering spiral-waves terminate upon collision with a boundary (linear lesion or tissue edge); (iv) the probability of terminating multi-wavelet re-entry is proportional to the ratio of total boundary length to tissue area; (v) the efficacy of linear lesions varies directly with the regional density of spiral-waves.


We establish a theoretical framework for re-entrant arrhythmias that explains the requirements for their successful treatment. We demonstrate the inadequacy of focal ablation for spatially fixed spiral-waves. Mechanistically guided principles for ablating multi-wavelet re-entry are provided. The potential to capitalize upon regional heterogeneity of spiral-wave density for improved ablation efficacy is described.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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