Anatomy of the pulmonary veins in patients with atrial fibrillation and effects of segmental ostial ablation analyzed by computed tomography

Christoph Scharf, Michael Sneider, Ian Case, Aman Chugh, Steve W K Lai, Frank Pelosi, Bradley P. Knight, Ella Kazerooni, Fred Morady, Hakan Oral*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Scopus citations


Pulmonary Vein Anatomy. Introduction: The anatomic arrangement of pulmonary veins (PVs) is variable. No prior studies have quantitatively analyzed the effects of segmental ostial ablation on the PVs. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of segmental ostial radiofrequency ablation on PV anatomy in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Methods and Results: Three-dimensional models of the PVs were constructed from computed tomographic (CT) scans in 58 patients with AF undergoing segmental ostial ablation to isolate the PVs and in 10 control subjects without a history of AF. CT scans were repeated approximately 4 months later. PV and left atrial dimensions were measured with digital calipers. Four separate PV ostia were present in 47 subjects; 3 ostia were present in 2 subjects; and 5 ostia were present in 9 subjects. The superior PVs had a larger ostium than the inferior PVs. Patients with AF had a larger left atrial area between the PV ostia and larger ostial diameters than the controls. Segmental ostial ablation resulted in a 1.5 ± 3.2 mm narrowing of the ostial diameter. A 28% to 61% focal stenosis was present 7.6 ± 2.2 mm from the ostium in 3% of 128 isolated PVs. There were no instances of symptomatic PV stenosis during a mean follow-up of 245 ± 105 days. Conclusion: CT of the PVs allows identification of anatomic variants prior to catheter ablation procedures. Segmental ostial ablation results in a significant but small reduction in ostial diameter. Focal stenosis occurs infrequently and is attributable to delivery of radiofrequency energy within the PV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-155
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of cardiovascular electrophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Catheter ablation
  • Computed tomography
  • Pulmonary vein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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