The Effect of Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Techniques on P Wave Duration and P Wave Dispersion.


Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, UK; University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK; Southwest Cardiothoracic Centre, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : A reduction in surface electrocardiogram (ECG) P wave duration and dispersion is associated with improved outcomes in atrial fibrillation ablation. We investigated the effects of different ablation strategies on P wave duration and dispersion, hypothesising that extensive left atrial (LA) ablation with left atrial posterior wall isolation would give a greater reduction in P wave duration than more limited ablation techniques.
METHODS : A retrospective analysis of ECGs from patients who have undergone atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation was performed and pre-procedural sinus rhythm ECGs were compared with the post procedure ECGs. Maximal P wave duration was measured in leads I or II, minimum P wave duration in any lead and values were calculated for P wave duration and dispersion. Left atrial dimensions and medications at the time of ECG were documented. Ablation strategies compared were; pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) and the persistent AF (PsAF) ablation strategies of pulmonary vein isolation plus additional linear lesions (Lines), left atrial posterior wall isolation via catheter (PWI) and left atrial posterior wall isolation via staged surgical and catheter ablation (Hybrid).
RESULTS : Sixty-nine patients' ECGs were analysed: 19 PVI, 21 Lines, 14 PWI, 15 Hybrid. Little correlation was seen between pre-procedure left atrial size and P wave duration (r=0.24) but LA size and P wave duration was larger in PsAF patients. A significant difference was seen in P wave reduction driven by Hybrid AF ablation (p<0.005) and Lines (<0.02). There was no difference amongst P wave dispersion between groups but the largest reduction was seen in the Hybrid ablation group.
CONCLUSIONS : P wave duration increased with duration of continuous atrial fibrillation. Hybrid AF ablation significantly reduced P wave duration and dispersion compared to other ablation strategies including posterior wall isolation via catheter despite this being the same lesion set.


Atrial fibrillation,Catheter ablation,P wave dispersion,Surgical ablation,