Left Atrial Substrate Modification Targeting Low-Voltage Areas for Catheter Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Alessandro Blandino, Francesca Bianchi, Stefano Grossi, Giuseppe Biondi-Zoccai, Maria Rosa Conte, Luca Gaido, Fiorenzo Gaita, Marco Scaglione, Francesco Rametta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Background: This meta-analysis aims to assess the impact of a voltage-guided substrate modification by targeting low-voltage area (LVA) in addition to pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) in patients undergoing catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF). Methods: MEDLINE/PubMed, Cochrane Library, and references reporting AF ablation and “voltage* OR substrate* OR fibrosis OR fibrotic area*” were screened and studies included if matching inclusion and exclusion criteria. Results: Six studies were included. Patients enrolled were 885 (517 in the study group and 368 in the control group). Median age was 60 years; 92% had nonparoxysmal AF. At a mean follow-up of 17 months, 70% of patients in the study group vs. 43% in the control group were free from AF/atrial tachycardia (AT) recurrences (odds ratio [OR] = 3.41, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.22–5.24). LVA ablation in addition to PVI was more effective than PVI alone and PVI + conventional wide empirical ablation (70% vs. 43%, OR = 3.41, 95% CI 2.22–5.24), without increasing the adverse event rate (2.5% vs. 6%, OR = 0.43, 95% CI 0.15–1.26). Compared to PVI + conventional wide empirical ablation, LVA ablation reduced the occurrence of postablation AT (14% vs. 46%, OR = 0.16, 95% CI 0.07–0.37), procedure time (176 min vs. 220 min, OR = 0.36, 95% CI 0.24–0.56), fluoroscopy time (25 min vs. 31 min, OR = 0.22, 95% CI 0.12–0.39), and radiofrequency time (55 min vs. 90 min, OR = 0.49, 95% CI 0.27–0.90). Conclusions: A voltage-guided substrate modification by targeting LVA in addition to PVI is more effective, safer, and holds a lower proarrhythmic potential than conventional ablation approaches. Further randomized studies are necessary to confirm these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-212
Number of pages14
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2017



  • atrial fibrillation
  • catheter ablation
  • LA fibrosis
  • low-voltage area
  • meta-analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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