AIMS: Cardiac implanted electronic devices (CIEDs) can detect atrial high-rate episodes (AHREs) and challenge current management of subclinical atrial fibrillation (AF). METHODS: To characterize the anatomic and functional remodeling of cardiac structures between patients with subclinical AF (SCAF) and clinical AF. The predictors for AHREs ≥6 min were also investigated. RESULTS: We compared the atrial volume, dynamic function, and peri-atrial fat between 104 CIEDs (AHREs = 0, n = 12; SCAF, n = 66; CIEDs with AF, n = 26) and 40 paroxysmal AF patients who were planning for catheter ablation (AF for ablation) using 256-slice multidetector computed tomography for the duration of the AHREs. The maximal volume of the left atrium (LA) and LA appendage (LAA) were significantly smaller; the total emptying fraction (EF) and active EF of the LA and LAA were significantly better in the patients with SCAF than in those with clinical AF. Less peri-atrial fat (p < 0.001) and a greater LAA/ascending aorta (AA) Hounsfield unit (HU) ratio (p < 0.05) were noted in the patients with SCAF. Significantly increased volume reduced the total EF of LA and LAA and a reduced LAA/AA HU ratio (0.91 ± 0.18 vs 0.98 ± 0.03 vs 0.97 ± 0.05, p < 0.05) were demonstrated in patients with AHREs ≥6 min compared to those with AHREs <6 min and without AHRE. Multivariate analysis showed the reduced LAA/AA HU ratio is an independent predictor for the development of AHREs ≥6 min. CONCLUSION: As compared to clinical AF, patients with SCAF show a more favorable LA remodeling process. Among the patients with device-detected AHREs, worse LA remodeling and a reduced LAA/AA HU ratio were associated with the occurrence of AHREs ≥6 min. These findings may provide an incremental value for understanding SCAF.
- atrial fibrillation
- atrial high-rate episode
- multidetector computed tomography