The impact of respiration on left atrial and pulmonary venous anatomy: Implications for image-guided intervention

Peter A. Noseworthy, Zachary J. Malchano, Jameel Ahmed, Godtfred Holmvang, Jeremy N. Ruskin, Vivek Y. Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Background: Image-guided intervention using pre-acquired CT/MR 3-dimensional images is an emerging strategy for atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation but may be limited by its use of static images to depict dynamic physiology. The effect of biologic factors such as respiration on the left atrial-pulmonary venous (LA-PV) anatomy is not well understood but is likely to have important implications. Conventional CT/MR imaging is performed during an inspiratory breath-hold, while electroanatomical mapping (EAM) during "quiet" breathing approximates an expiratory breath-hold. This study examined the effects of respiration on LA-PV anatomy and the error introduced by respiration on the integration of EAM with 3D MR imaging. Methods: Pre-procedural MRI angiography was performed at both end-expiration (EXP) and end-inspiration (INSP) in 20 patients undergoing AF catheter ablation. 3D INSP and EXP surface reconstructions of the LA-PVs were compared. In selected pts, EAM data acquired during the ablation procedure (n=7) were integrated with the 3D MRI datasets. Results: Qualitative assessment of the INSP and EXP 3D images revealed splaying of the PVs and reduction in PV caliber of the right-sided PVs during held inspiration. After aligning these two datasets, the average surface-to-surface distance calculated by region ranged from 1.99mm (right middle PV) to 3.79mm (left superior PV). Registration of the EAM to the MRI models was better for the EXP dataset (2.30±0.73mm) than the INSP dataset (3.03±0.57mm; p=0.004). Conclusion: There are significant changes in LA-PV anatomy with respiration. MR images acquired during standard held inspiration may introduce unnecessary errors in registration during image-guided intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1173-1178
Number of pages6
JournalHeart rhythm
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Ablation
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Electroanatomical Mapping
  • Electrophysiology
  • Left Atrium
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pulmonary Veins
  • Registration
  • Respiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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