BACKGROUND: Key determinants for lesion formation in catheter ablation are contact force, radiofrequency (RF) power and time. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical applicability of ablation index (AI), a novel non-linear formula based on these components, and to compare AI with the conventional linear force-time interval (FTI) in pulmonary vein isolation (PVI).
METHODS AND RESULTS: Target AI ranges were defined for anatomical segments of the ipsilateral pulmonary veins. The operator was blinded to AI during PVI for the initial 11 patients (group A), and was unblinded for the remaining 23 patients (group B). We assessed (1) the clinical value of AI to avoid excessively high and low values with an operator blinded vs. non-blinded to AI; and (2) the relation of AI and FTI in predefined ranges. In group A, 235/564 lesions (41.7%) were in the predefined target range as compared with 1,171/1,412 lesions (82.9%) in group B (P<0.001). A given AI may correspond to a wide range of FTI, as reflected by a quartile coefficient of dispersion for AI of 0.11 vs. a quartile coefficient of dispersion for FTI of 0.36.
CONCLUSION: Incorporating RF current power, the non-linear AI provides more comprehensive information during PVI compared with FTI. Given that the FTI for a given AI varies widely, the value of FTI in clinical practice is questionable.