Abstract 9770: Anatomic Findings and Myocardial Extensions Into the Thoracic Venous Connections of the Heart
Introduction: Cardiac veins serve as substrate for arrhythmogenesis, and are especially involved as foci in atrial fibrillation. Understanding cardiac vein anatomy along with myocardial extension into these structures can improve electrophysiological mapping and electrical isolation of arrhythmogenic substrate. Accurately defining cardiac vein anatomy is critical in improving success of ablation therapy for atrial fibrillation.
Methods: We performed measurements on 620 formalin-fixed autopsy hearts explanted from October 1998 to July 2003. The integrity of the thoracic veins and their cardiac connections were examined and systematic measurements of the superior and inferior vena cavae, azygous vein, vein of Marshall, coronary sinus, and pulmonary veins were performed and data were analyzed using univariate statistics.
Results: We found that muscular extensions into the pulmonary veins were visible in 99% of the examined hearts, and were circumferential around the vein ostia (99.6%). Muscle extension into the SVC was found in 78% of examined hearts. These extensions were largely circumferential around the ostium (39%), but were also found to be asymmetric in a majority of hearts. Asymmetry was found in hearts with longer muscle extensions; no symmetry was observed in extensions greater than 0.8cm. Muscle extensions into the IVC were not seen. Occasionally, macroscopic muscle extensions into the azygous vein were visible (6%). The vein of Marshall was found to be patent to probing in the majority of hearts examined (72%) and was almost always overlying the lateral left atrial endocardial ridge.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that all pulmonary veins need to be electrically isolated during atrial fibrillation ablation because of the almost universal presence of myocardial tissue extending into the veins. Mapping of the SVC should be done circumferentially and if potentials are noted isolation should also be performed. The IVC did not have muscle extensions and is unlikely to be a site of arrhythmogenesis. The azygous vein occasionally had muscle extensions and thus requires mapping and possible isolation. The vein of Marshall can be a substrate for arrhythmogenesis and is accessible for ablation by targeting the lateral left atrial endocardial ridge.
- © 2011 by American Heart Association, Inc.