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Number of P-Wave Fragmentations on P-SAECG Correlates with Infiltrated Atrial Fat


  • Financial support & relationships with industry: Study was partially supported by Cardiac Translational Research Implementation Program (C-TRIP) grant from NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute #P20HL101397 and the Leducq Foundation.

  • Clinical Trial Registration: NCT01353131



Although atrial fibrillation (AF) triggers are known, the underlying AF substrate is less well understood. The goal of our study was to explore correlations between electrophysiological and structural characteristics of atria in patients with paroxysmal AF and individuals at AF risk.


Patients in sinus rhythm (N = 90; age 57 ± 10 year; 55 men [63.2%]) with structural heart disease and paroxysmal AF (n = 12 [13%]), or with AF risk factors and LVEF > 35% (n = 78), underwent SAECG and cardiac magnetic resonance study. Interatrial and epicardial fat was analyzed with a Dark-blood DIR-prepared Fat-Water-separated sequence in the horizontal longitudinal axis. All local P-wave extrema were identified on SAECG leads during sinus rhythm. A P-wave fragmentation (Pf) was defined as an absolute difference between adjacent extrema which was above three standard deviations of noise, and was normalized by the duration of the P wave in the corresponding lead.


The Pf was greater on the filtered than on the unfiltered P-SAECG signal (13.1 ± 3.8 vs. 3.4 ± 1.2; P < 0.0001). Pf was the greatest on the Y lead (13.0 ± 3.5 on Y lead vs. 12.1 ± 3.4 on Z lead; P = 0.003. Pf on Z lead correlated with interatrial fat index (r = 0.544; P = 0.001). Epicardial fat significantly correlated with body mass index (BMI; r = 0.302; P = 0.015). After adjustment for BMI, left atrium (LA) size, epicardial fat, and interatrial septum width, interatrial fat independently associated with the Pf on Z lead (β-coefficient 0.009 [95%CI 0.0003–0.019]; P = 0.043).


Infiltrated atrial fat correlates with discontinuous conduction on posterior LA wall and represents AF early substrate.