Document Detail

Computed tomographic analysis of the anatomy of the left atrium and the esophagus: implications for left atrial catheter ablation.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15569839     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: During left atrial (LA) catheter ablation, an atrioesophageal fistula can develop as a result of thermal injury of the esophagus during ablation along the posterior LA. No in vivo studies have examined the relationship of the esophagus to the LA. The purpose of this study was to describe the topographic anatomy of the esophagus and the posterior LA by use of CT. METHODS AND RESULTS: A helical CT scan of the chest with 3D reconstruction was performed in 50 patients (mean age, 54+/-11 years) with atrial fibrillation before an ablation procedure. Consecutive axial and sagittal sections of the CT scan were examined to determine the relationship, size, and thickness of the tissue layers between the LA and the esophagus. The mean length and width of the esophagus in contact with the posterior LA were 58+/-14 and 13+/-6 mm, respectively. The esophagus had a variable course along the posterior LA. The esophagus was close (10+/-6 mm from the ostia) and parallel to the left-sided pulmonary veins (PVs) in 56% of patients and had an oblique course from the left superior PV to the right inferior PV in 36% of patients. The mean thicknesses of the posterior LA and anterior esophageal walls were 2.2+/-0.9 and 3.6+/-1.7 mm, respectively. In 98% of patients, there was a fat layer between the esophagus and the posterior LA. However, this layer was often discontinuous. CONCLUSIONS: The esophagus and posterior LA wall are in close contact over a large area that may often lie within the atrial fibrillation ablation zone, and there is marked variation in the anatomic relationship of the esophagus and the posterior LA. Both the esophageal and atrial walls are quite thin. However, a layer of adipose tissue may serve to insulate the esophagus from thermal injury, explaining why atrioesophageal fistulas are rare.
Kristina Lemola; Michael Sneider; Benoit Desjardins; Ian Case; Jihn Han; Eric Good; Kamala Tamirisa; Ariane Tsemo; Aman Chugh; Frank Bogun; Frank Pelosi; Ella Kazerooni; Fred Morady; Hakan Oral
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2004-11-29
Journal Detail:
Title:  Circulation     Volume:  110     ISSN:  1524-4539     ISO Abbreviation:  Circulation     Publication Date:  2004 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-12-14     Completed Date:  2005-05-25     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0147763     Medline TA:  Circulation     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  3655-60     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Atrial Fibrillation / pathology,  radiography,  surgery*
Catheter Ablation / adverse effects,  methods*
Esophagus / anatomy & histology,  radiography*
Heart Atria / pathology,  radiography,  surgery
Imaging, Three-Dimensional
Middle Aged
Tomography, X-Ray Computed

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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