Characterization of pre-existing arrhythmogenic substrate associated with de novo early and late postoperative atrial fibrillation

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Abstract

Background: PoAF is the most common complication after cardiac surgery and may occur in patients with pre-existing arrhythmogenic substrate. Characterization of this substrate could aid in identifying patients at risk for PoAF. We therefore compared intra-atrial conduction parameters and electrogram morphology between patients without and with early- (≤5 days after surgery) and late- (up to 5 years) postoperative atrial fibrillation (PoAF). Methods and results: Epicardial mapping of the right and left atrium and Bachmann's Bundle (BB) was performed during sinus rhythm (SR) in 263 patients (207male, 67 ± 11 years). Unipolar potentials were classified as single, short or long double and fractionated potentials. Unipolar voltage, fractionation delay (time difference between the first and last deflection), conduction velocity (CV) and conduction block (CB) prevalence were measured. Comparing patients without (N = 166) and with PoAF (N = 97), PoAF was associated with lower CV and more CB at BB. Unipolar voltages were lower and more low-voltage areas were found at the left and right atrium and BB in PoAF patients. These differences were more pronounced in patients with late-PoAF (6%), which could even occur up to 5 years after surgery. Although several electrophysiological parameters were related to PoAF, age was the only independent predictor. Conclusions: Patients with de novo PoAF have more extensive arrhythmogenic substrate prior to cardiac surgery compared to those who remained in SR, which is even more pronounced in late-PoAF patients. Future studies should evaluate whether intra-operative electrophysiological examination enables identification of patients at risk for developing PoAF and hence (preventive) therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-79
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Volume363
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
N.M.S. de Groot, MD, PhD is supported by funding grants from CVON-AFFIP [grant number 914728 ], NWO-Vidi [grant number 91717339 ], Biosense Webster USA [ICD 783454 ] and Medical Delta.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)

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