Diffuse ventricular fibrosis in atrial fibrillation: Noninvasive evaluation and relationships with aging and systolic dysfunction

Liang Han Ling, Peter M. Kistler, Andris H. Ellims, Leah M. Iles, Geraldine Lee, Gerard L. Hughes, Jonathan M. Kalman, David M. Kaye, Andrew J. Taylor

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97 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate diffuse myocardial fibrosis of the left ventricle (LV) in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Background: Diffuse myocardial fibrosis is a hallmark of cardiomyopathy. Unlike replacement fibrosis, it is not visualized on delayed-enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging, but may be quantified with contrast-enhanced T1 mapping methods. In atrial fibrillation (AF), it may be induced by arrhythmia or reflect pre-existing cardiomyopathy. Methods: Ninety subjects underwent CMR using a clinical 1.5-T scanner: 23 controls, 40 paroxysmal AF patients, and 27 persistent AF patients. Cardiac morphology and function was evaluated from CMR cine imaging. A histologically validated T1 mapping sequence was used to calculate post-contrast T1 relaxation time (T1 time) of the LV myocardium as an index of diffuse myocardial fibrosis. Results: Age was similar across controls, paroxysmal AF patients, and persistent AF patients (54 ± 12 years, 58 ± 9 years, and 56 ± 10 years, p = NS). Persistent AF patients had larger indexed left atrium volume (55 ± 18 ml vs. 41 ± 12 ml and 47 ± 14 ml) and lower ejection fraction (54 ± 10% vs. 65 ± 6% and 61 ± 8%) than controls and paroxysmal AF patients (p < 0.05). Post-contrast ventricular T1 time differed across all groups (controls, 535 ± 86 ms; paroxysmal AF, 427 ± 95 ms; persistent AF, 360 ± 84 ms; p < 0.001). Univariate predictors of post-contrast ventricular T 1 time included age, sex, AF category, ejection fraction, LV mass, congestive heart failure, and body mass index. After multivariate analysis, age, AF category, and ejection fraction remained independent predictors. Conclusions: Post-contrast ventricular T1 mapping identifies diffuse LV fibrosis in patients with AF and provides new insights into the association between AF and adverse ventricular remodeling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2402-2408
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • atrial fibrillation
  • cardiac magnetic resonance
  • T mapping
  • ventricular fibrosis

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