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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter September 7, 2017

Estimating refractory periods during atrial fibrillation based on electrogram cycle lengths in a heterogeneous simulation setup

  • Laura Unger EMAIL logo , Tobias Oesterlein , Gunnar Seemann , Olaf Dössel , Peter Spector and Axel Loewe


Acquiring adequate mapping data in patients with atrial fibrillation is still one of the main obstacles in the treatment of this atrial arrhythmia. Due to the lack of catheters with both a panoramic field of view and sufficient electrode density for simultaneous mapping, electrophysiologists are forced to fall back on sequential mapping techniques. But, because activation patterns change rapidly during atrial fibrillation, they cannot be mapped sequentially. We propose that mapping tissue properties which are time independent, in contrast, allows a sequential approach. Here, we use the shortest measured electrogram cycle length to estimate the effective refractory period of the underlying tissue in a simulation study. Atrial fibrillation was simulated in a spherical model of the left atrium comprised of regions with varied refractory period. We found that the minimal measured electrogram cycle length correlates with the effective refractory period of the underlying tissue if the regions with distinct refractory properties are large enough and if the absolute difference in effective refractory periods is sufficient. This approach is capable of identifying regions of lowered effective refractory period without the need for cardioversion. Those regions are likely to harbor drivers of atrial fibrillation, which emphasizes the necessity of their localization.

Published Online: 2017-09-07

©2017 Laura Unger et al., published by De Gruyter.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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