Background - Previous studies of atrial flutter have found linear block at the crista terminalis; this was thought to predispose the patient to the arrhythmia. More recent observations, however, have demonstrated crista conduction. We sought to characterize the posterior boundary of atrial flutter. Methods and Results - Patients with counterclockwise flutter (n=20), clockwise flutter (n=3), or both (n=5) were studied using two 20-pole catheters. Biplane fluoroscopy determined catheter positions. During counterclockwise flutter, craniocaudal activation occurred along the entire lateral and posterior right atrial walls. Septal activation proceeded caudocranially. In all patients, a line of block was seen in the posteromedial (sinus venosa) right atrium; this was manifested by the presence of double potentials where the upward and downward activations collided. Anatomic location was confirmed by intracardiac echocardiography in 9 patients. In patients with clockwise flutter, the line of block and double potentials were seen in the same location during counterclockwise flutter, but the activation sequence around the line of block was reversed. Pacing near the site of double potentials during sinus rhythm excluded a fixed line of block, and premature atrial complexes demonstrated functional block with manifest double potentials. In 2 patients, posterior ectopy organized to subsequently initiate isthmus-dependent atrial flutter. Conclusions - (1) A functional line of block is seen at the posteromedial (sinus venosa region) fight atrium during counterclockwise and clockwise atrial flutter. (2) All lateral wall right atrial activation can be uniform during flutter, without linear block or double potentials in the region of the crista terminalis. (3) Activation at the site of posteromedial right atrial functional block can organize to subsequently initiate isthmus-dependent atrial flutter.
- Atrial flutter
- Catheter ablation
- Crista terminalis
- Intracardiac echocardiography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)