Electrogram polarity and cavotricuspid isthmus block during ablation of typical atrial flutter

Hiroshi Tada, Hakan Oral, Christian Sticherling, Steven P. Chough, Robert L. Baker, Kristina Wasmer, Michael H. Kim, J. R. Frank Pelosi, Gregory F. Michaud, Bradley P. Knight, S. Adam Strickberger, Fred Morady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Electrogram Polarity in Atrial Flutter Ablation. Introduction: The atrial activation sequence around the tricuspid annulus has been used to assess whether complete block has been achieved across the cavotricuspid isthmus during radiofrequency ablation of typical atrial flutter. However, sometimes the atrial activation sequence does not clearly establish the presence or absence of complete block. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a change in the polarity of atrial electrograms recorded near the ablation line is an accurate indicator of complete isthmus block. Methods and Results: Radiofrequency ablation was performed in 34 men and 10 women (age 60 ± 13 years [mean ± SD]) with isthmus-dependent, counterclockwise atrial flutter. Electrograms were recorded around the tricuspid annulus using a duodecapolar halo catheter. Electrograms recorded from two distal electrode pairs (E1 and E2) positioned just anterior to the ablation line were analyzed during atrial flutter and during coronary sinus pacing, before and after ablation. Complete isthmus block was verified by the presence of widely split double electrograms along the entire ablation line. Complete bidirectional isthmus block was achieved in 39 (89%) of 44 patients. Before ablation, the initial polarity of E1 and E2 was predominantly negative during atrial flutter and predominantly positive during coronary sinus pacing. During incomplete isthmus block, the electrogram polarity became reversed either only at E2, or at neither E1 nor E2. In every patient, the polarity of E1 and E2 became negative during coronary sinus pacing only after complete isthmus block was achieved. In 4 patients (10%), the atrial activation sequence recorded with the halo catheter was consistent with complete isthmus block, but the presence of incomplete block was accurately detected by inspection of the polarity of E1 and E2. Conclusion: Reversal of polarity in bipolar electrograms recorded just anterior to the line of isthmus block during coronary sinus pacing after ablation of atrial flutter is a simple, quick, and accurate indicator of complete isthmus block.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-399
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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