Achieving durable mitral isthmus block: Challenges, pitfalls, and methods of assessment

Naktal S. Hamoud, Victor A. Abrich, Win Kuang Shen, Siva K. Mulpuru, Komandoor Srivathsan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: Macroreentrant atrial tachycardias often occur following atrial fibrillation ablation, most commonly due to nontransmural lesions in prior ablation lines. Perimitral atrial flutter is one such arrhythmia which requires ablation of the mitral isthmus. Our objectives were to review the literature regarding ablation of the mitral isthmus and to provide our approach for assessment of mitral isthmus block. Methods: We review anatomical considerations, ablation strategies, and assessment of conduction block across the mitral isthmus, which is subject to several pitfalls. Activation sequence and spatial differential pacing techniques are discussed for assessment of both endocardial and epicardial bidirectional mitral isthmus block. Results: Traditional methods for verifying mitral isthmus block include spatial differential pacing, activation mapping, and identification of double potentials. Up to 70% of cases require additional ablation in the coronary sinus (CS) to achieve transmural block. Interpretation of transmural block is subject to six pitfalls involving pacing output, differentiation of endocardial left atrial recordings from epicardial CS recordings, identification of a slowly conducting gap in the line, and catheter positioning during spatial differential pacing. Interpretation of unipolar electrograms can identify nontransmural lesions. We employ a combined epicardial and endocardial assessment of mitral isthmus block, which involves using a CS catheter for epicardial recording and a duodecapolar Halo catheter positioned around the mitral annulus for endocardial recording. Conclusions: The assessment of transmural mitral isthmus block can be challenging. Placement of an endocardial mapping catheter around the mitral annulus can provide a precise assessment of conduction across the mitral isthmus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1679-1687
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cardiovascular electrophysiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • ablation
  • atypical atrial flutter
  • mitral isthmus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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