Epicardial and Endocardial Validation of Conduction Block After Thoracoscopic Epicardial Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation

Mindy Vroomen*, Bart Maesen, Justin L. Luermans, Jos G. Maessen, Harry J. Crijns, Mark La Meir, Laurent Pison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: It is unknown whether epicardial and endocardial validation of bidirectional block after thoracoscopic surgical ablation for atrial fibrillation is comparable. Epicardial validation may lead to false-positive results due to epicardial tissue edema, and thus could leave gaps with subsequent arrhythmia recurrence. It is the aim of the present study to answer this question in patients who underwent hybrid atrial fibrillation ablation (combined thoracoscopic epicardial and endocardial catheter ablation). Methods: After epicardial ablation of the pulmonary veins (PVs) and connecting inferior and roof lines (box lesion), exit and entrance block were epicardially and endocardially evaluated using an endocardial His Bundle catheter and electrophysiological workstation. If incomplete lesions were found, endocardial touch-up ablation was performed. Validation results were also compared to predictions about conduction block based on tissue conductance measurements of the epicardial ablation device. Results: Twenty-five patients were included. Epicardial validation results were 100% equal to the endocardial results for the left superior, left inferior, and right inferior PVs and box lesion. For the right superior PV, 85% similarity was found. Based on tissue conductance measurements, 139 lesions were expected to be complete; however, in 5 (3.6%) a gap was present. Conclusions: Epicardial bidirectional conduction block in the PVs and the box lesion corresponded well with endocardial bidirectional conduction block. Conduction block predictions by changes in tissue conductance failed in few cases compared to block confirmation. This emphasizes that tissue conduction measurements can provide a rough indication of lesion effectiveness but needs endpoint confirmation by either epicardial or endocardial block testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-531
Number of pages7
JournalInnovations: Technology and Techniques in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • atrial fibrillation
  • conduction block
  • epicardial ablation
  • hybrid ablation
  • surgical ablation

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