Electroanatomic remodelling of the pulmonary veins associated with age

Andrew W. Teh, Jonathan M. Kalman, Geoffrey Lee, Caroline Medi, Patrick M. Heck, Lian Han Ling, Saurabh Kumar, Steven J Spence, Joseph B. Morton, Peter M Kistler

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: : Increasing age is a significant risk factor for developing atrial fibrillation (AF). Pulmonary vein (PV) triggers are critical in the mechanism of AF, but little is known of the substrate changes that occur within the PVs with ageing. Therefore, we sought to identify whether ageing is associated with electroanatomic changes within the pulmonary veins. Methods and Results: : Twenty-five patients undergoing ablation for left-sided supraventricular tachycardia had high-density 3D electroanatomic maps of all four PVs created. Patients were divided into two groups: group 1 aged <50 years and group 2 aged >50 years. Mean-voltage (MV), low-voltage (LV < 0.5 mV), conduction, signal complexity, and PV muscle sleeve length and diameter were assessed. Age was 33 ± 8 vs. 66 ± 8 years for groups 1 and 2, respectively (P< 0.001). Group 2 demonstrated: (i) lower MV within the PVs (1.66 ± 1.1 vs. 1.88 ± 1.1 mV, P< 0.001); (ii) increased LV (5.0 vs. 1.1, P< 0.001), and increased voltage heterogeneity within the PVs (65 ± 14 vs. 55 ± 8, P< 0.05); (iii) regional and global conduction slowing in the PVs; and (iv) increased complex signals within the PVs (1.4 vs. 0.4, P 0.009). There was no difference in PV sleeve length or diameter. Conclusion: : Increasing age is associated with PV electroanatomic changes characterized by a significant reduction in PV voltage, conduction slowing, and increasing signal complexity. These observations provide new insights into the potential mechanisms behind the increased prevalence of AF with advancing age. Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-51
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Electroanatomic mapping
  • Pulmonary veins
  • Voltage mapping

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