Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia worldwide associated with significant morbidity and mortality and represents a significant health care burden. Goals of AF treatment include prevention of cardioembolic stroke using anticoagulation and device therapy and restoration of sinus rhythm using antiarrhythmic drugs or catheter ablation techniques. A comprehensive assessment of cardiac chamber size and function is often started with echocardiography as a first line diagnostic imaging strategy. Recently, innovations in advanced imaging using cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) and cardiac computed tomography (CCT) provide a detailed characterization of atrial anatomy and have been shown to accurately exclude thrombus and guide left atrial appendage (LAA) closure or catheter ablation (CA) of atrial fibrillation. Compared to echocardiography, CCT offers an uncompromised spatial resolution and a fast dataset acquisition, with the disadvantages of the need of iodine contrast agent and radiation exposure. CMR, conversely, can rely on very high temporal resolution, the unique feature of tissue characterization and the absence of radiation exposure. However, the main drawbacks of this diagnostic tool are long scan times and low availability. This review will illustrate the vital role of multimodality cardiac imaging in the accurate identification of left atrial, pulmonary vein and LAA size and function, discuss advanced imaging techniques to rule out thrombus and highlight novel CMR and CCT techniques to guide catheter ablation of AF and LAA occlusion.
Guglielmo M, Baggiano A, Muscogiuri G, Fusini L, Andreini D, Mushtaq S, Conte E, Annoni A, Formenti A, Mancini EM, Gripari P, Guaricci AI, Rabbat MG, Pepi M, Pontone G. Multimodality imaging of left atrium in patients with atrial fibrillation. J Cardiovasc Comput Tomogr 2019 Mar 30. pii: S1934-5925(18)30506-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jcct.2019.03.005. [Epub ahead of print]