Histological substrate of atrial biopsies in patients with lone atrial fibrillation

Circulation
A FrustaciA Maseri

Abstract

Lone atrial fibrillation (LAF) is a common clinical syndrome, but its origin remains unknown. We performed endomyocardial biopsies of the right atrial septum (2 to 3 per patient; mean, 2.8) and of the two ventricles (6 per patient) in 12 patients (10 men, 2 women; mean age, 32 years) with paroxysmal LAF refractory to conventional antiarrhythmic treatment. As controls, we used endomyocardial biopsies (3 to 5 per patient; mean, 4.4) from the right atrial septum of 11 patients with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW) undergoing resection of the abnormal AV pathway. The weight of the biopsies ranged from 2.8 to 4.5 mg. Biopsy samples were processed for histology and electron microscopy and were read by a pathologist blinded to clinical data. All patients underwent two-dimensional Doppler echocardiography; cardiac catheterization; coronary angiography; and hormonal, virologic, and electrophysiological studies. All tests and WPW biopsies were normal, but all LAF atrial biopsy specimens (average, 2.8 per patient) showed abnormalities (P<.0001). The type of abnormalities varied: Two patients had a severe hypertrophy with vacuolar degeneration of the atrial myocytes and ultrastructural evidence of fibrillolysis occupying >50% of the ar...Continue Reading

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