Noninvasive imaging of human atrial activation during atrial flutter and normal rhythm from body surface potential maps

Zhaoye Zhou, Qi Jin, Long Yu, Liqun Wu, Bin He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background Knowledge of atrial electrophysiological properties is crucial for clinical intervention of atrial arrhythmias and the investigation of the underlying mechanism. This study aims to evaluate the feasibility of a novel noninvasive cardiac electrical imaging technique in imaging bi-atrial activation sequences from body surface potential maps (BSPMs). Methods The study includes 7 subjects, with 3 atrial flutter patients, and 4 healthy subjects with normal atrial activations. The subject-specific heart-torso geometries were obtained from MRI/CT images. The equivalent current densities were reconstructed from 208-channel BSPMs by solving the inverse problem using individual heart-torso geometry models. The activation times were estimated from the time instant corresponding to the highest peak in the time course of the equivalent current densities. To evaluate the performance, a total of 32 cycles of atrial flutter were analyzed. The imaged activation maps obtained from single beats were compared with the average maps and the activation maps measured from CARTO, by using correlation coefficient (CC) and relative error (RE). Results The cardiac electrical imaging technique is capable of imaging both focal and reentrant activations. The imaged activation maps for normal atrial activations are consistent with findings from isolated human hearts. Activation maps for isthmus-dependent counterclockwise reentry were reconstructed on three patients with typical atrial flutter. The method was capable of imaging macro counterclockwise reentrant loop in the right atrium and showed inter-atria electrical conduction through coronary sinus. The imaged activation sequences obtained from single beats showed good correlation with both the average activation maps (CC =0.91-0.03, RE =0.29-0.05) and the clinical endocardial findings using CARTO (CC =0.70-0.04, RE =0.42-0.05). Conclusions The noninvasive cardiac electrical imaging technique is able to reconstruct complex atrial reentrant activations and focal activation patterns in good consistency with clinical electrophysiological mapping. It offers the potential to assist in radio-frequency ablation of atrial arrhythmia and help defining the underlying arrhythmic mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0163445
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by NIH RO1HL080093 and NSF CBET-0756331, the Chinese “111 Project” (B08020), and a grant from the Institute of Engineering in Medicine from the University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Zhou et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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