A land mark concept , that changed our understanding about the mechansim of genesis of Atrial fibrillation happened in the year 1998 .( Haïssaguerre ,Spontaneous Initiation of Atrial Fibrillation by Ectopic Beats Originating in the Pulmonary Veins N Engl J Med 1998; 339:659-666). He proved AF originates in specific focal points from the pulmonary vein ostia at its draining point in LA.Even though there only few selected focal points it was difficult identify those and hence empirical RF ablation of all 4 pulmonary vein became a standard practice. 100s of thousand of these invasive procedure were carried out in patients with chronic AF.
Now, in a span of 10 years , we realise many of these patients require second or third siting of ablation.The irony is , there are many non pulmonary connections that require repeat ablation.
Common mechanism for recurrences are
- Inadequate first ablation
- Inflammation and fresh scars
- Additional venous focal sites (coronary sinus ,SVC, Vien of marshall)
- Multiple mechanisms /*Non- focal , systemi AF mediated by neurohumoral triggers ?
A study from the prestigious JCE in May issue of 2015, reveals a starling fact , that about 50% of AF patients have additional connections other than pulmonary vein that require ablations at a future date.
If proven right , just wonder how much of knowledge and its dissemination , efforts from EP industry , technology transfer over the years is threatening to become redundant .Let us hope,we will somehow conquer the AF either electrically or pharmacologically.
A strong message comes out from this. In modern science, one need not be unduly excited about a new breakthrough.Proof of concept will have to overcome the ultimate test , ie time .