Published online Feb 28, 2011. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v3.i2.41
Revised: January 22, 2011
Accepted: January 25, 2011
Published online: February 28, 2011
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common supraventricular arrhythmia and a major cause of morbidity. Arrhythmogenic foci originating within the pulmonary veins (PVs) are an important cause of both paroxysmal and persistent AF. A variety of endovascular and surgical techniques have been used to electrically isolate the PV from the left atrium. Pulmonary venography for localization of the PV ostium can be difficult to perform during the ablation procedure. While the anatomy of the PV is patient-specific, non-invasive imaging techniques may provide useful diagnostic information prior to the intended intervention. In this context, multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) visualization of the left atrial and PV anatomy prior to left atrial ablation and PV isolation is becoming increasingly important. MDCT imaging provides pre-procedural information on the left atrial anatomy, including atrial size and venous attachments, and it may identify potential post-procedural complications, such as pulmonary vein stenosis or cardiac perforations. Here, we review the relevant literature and present the current “state-of-the-art” of left atrial anatomy, PV ostia as well as the clinical aspects of refractory AF, MDCT imaging protocols and procedural aspects of PV ablation.