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Expert Interview Atrial Fibrillation
Recent Advances in Catheter Ablation of
An Expert Interview with Erik Wissner
Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinios, US
Erik Wissner, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois, serves as the director of
electrophysiology in the Division of Cardiology. He has a particular interest in complex arrhythmia management and special
expertise in catheter ablation of complex atrial and ventricular arrhythmias. His research interests relate to the clinical
assessment of novel mapping and ablation technologies.
Keywords Atrial fibrillation, ablation, high density mapping
Disclosure: Erik Wissner is a consultant to Medtronic,
Abbott and Cardiofocus, and is on the scientific
advisory board and has stock options in EP Solutions.
No funding was received in the publication of this
article. This article a short interview and has not
been submitted to external peer reviewers.
Acknowledgements: Medical writing assistance
was provided by Katrina Mountfort, Freelance
Medical Writer, supported by Touch Medical Media.
Authorship: The named author meets the International
Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) criteria
for authorship of this manuscript, takes responsibility
for the integrity of the work as a whole, and has
given final approval to the version to be published.
Open Access: This article is published under the
Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License,
which permits any non-commercial use, distribution,
adaptation and reproduction provided the original
author(s) and source are given appropriate credit.
Received: 2 March 2017
Published Online: 1 June 2017
Citation: European Journal of Arrhythmia
& Electrophysiology, 2017;3(1):15–6
Corresponding Author: Erik Wissner, 840
S. Wood Street, Suite 920S, Chicage, Illinois
60612, US. E: email@example.com
C atheter ablation of the pulmonary veins has become an important treatment for atrial
fibrillation (AF), with a growing body of clinical evidence demonstrating its superiority over
antiarrhythmic drug therapy. However, ablation outcomes remain suboptimal, leading to
the identification of new anatomical targets for ablation. In addition, technological developments
have improved clinical outcomes. In this expert interview, Erik Wissner of the University of Illinois
at Chicago, Illinois, discusses recent advances in catheter ablation of AF.
Q: What is the impact of contact force on procedural outcomes in
catheter ablation of AF?
Ablation catheters incorporating real-time contact force sensing technology have found widespread
use in clinical practice, albeit mixed results from clinical trials. Using additional information such as
total duration of contact force applied during a single lesion (force-time integral [FTI]) or multiplying
the FTI by the energy (power) delivered (ablation index) may result in more durable lesions. 1
Frequent repositioning of the catheter to non-contiguous locations during circular point-by-point
ablation should be avoided. The operator should strive to create contiguous lesions and apply
sufficient contact force throughout the duration of energy delivery in order to reduce time to acute
pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) and improve long-term patient outcome.
Q: What (if any) proven indications exist for rotor ablation in AF?
Observational studies from a small number of centres have shown evidence of rotors in patients
with AF using invasive mapping. 2 Targeting rotors during ablation improved acute and long-term
clinical outcomes. However, other centres were unable to replicate these findings. In addition,
rotational activity within the right and left atrium can be seen using non-invasive mapping systems.
Whether these findings support the existence of rotors or are purely mathematically derived
phenomena is unclear. At present, non-invasive and invasive rotor mapping and ablation remain
investigational and their routine clinical use is not supported by evidence from randomised trials.
Q: What is the benefit of adding ablation of the autonomic ganglia
to standard PVI procedures?
The intrinsic cardiac autonomic system plays a critical role in the initiation and maintenance
of AF. Targeting epicardial ganglionic plexi (GP) during ablation may reduce the recurrence of
AF. However, no benefit was demonstrated in a randomised trial evaluating thoracoscopic GP
ablation in addition to PVI. 3 During percutaneous PVI, GPs may fortuitously be ablated as inferred
by a vigorous vagal response resulting in significant bradycardia or transient asystole. Dedicated
mapping of autonomic ganglia is not commonly performed and further research is needed before
adding GP ablation to standard PVI.
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