The role of Marshall bundle epicardial connections in atrial tachycardias after atrial fibrillation ablation


BACKGROUND: Atrial tachycardias (ATs) are often seen in the context of atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the role of the Marshall bundle (MB) network in left atrial (LA) ATs using high-density 3-dimensional mapping.

METHODS: A total of 199 ATs were mapped in 140 patients (112 male, mean age: 61.8 years); 133 (66.8%) were macroreentrant and 66 (33.2%) were scar-related reentry circuits. MB-dependent ATs were suggested by activation mapping analysis and confirmed with entrainment along the circuit.

RESULTS: The MB network participated in 60 (30.2%) reentrant ATs: 31 perimitral ATs (PMATs) and 29 localized reentry circuits. Of 60 MB-related ATs, 49 (81.6%) terminated with radiofrequency (RF) ablation: 44 (73.3%) at the MB-LA junction and 5 (8.3%) at the MB-coronary sinus (CS) junction, while 9 (15%) terminated after 2.5–5 cc of ethanol infusion inside the vein of Marshall (VOM). Of the 31 PMATs, 17 (54.8%) terminated at the MB-LA junction, 5 (16.1%) at the MB-CS junction, and 7 (22.6%) with ethanol infusion. Of the 29 localized reentry circuits using the MB, 27 (93.1%) terminated at the MB-LA junction, none at the MB-CS junction, and 2 (6.9%) after ethanol infusion. Recurrences were mostly observed after RF ablation (18 of 37 patients, 49%) compared to ethanol infusion (1 of 9 patients, 11%) (P = .06).

CONCLUSIONS: MB reentrant ATs accounted for up to 30.2% of the left ATs after AF ablation. Ablation of the MB-LA or CS-MB connections or ethanol infusion inside the VOM is required to treat these arrhythmias.

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Vlachos K, Denis A, Takigawa M, et al. Heart Rhythm 2019;16:1341–7.