Termination of Atrial Fibrillation Using Pulsed Low-Energy Far-Field Stimulation


Electrically based therapies for terminating atrial fibrillation (AF) currently fall into 2 categories: antitachycardia pacing and cardioversion. Antitachycardia pacing uses low-intensity pacing stimuli delivered via a single electrode and is effective for terminating slower tachycardias but is less effective for treating AF. In contrast, cardioversion uses a single high-voltage shock to terminate AF reliably, but the voltages required produce undesirable side effects, including tissue damage and pain. We propose a new method to terminate AF called far-field antifibrillation pacing, which delivers a short train of low-intensity electric pulses at the frequency of antitachycardia pacing but from field electrodes. Prior theoretical work has suggested that this approach can create a large number of activation sites (“virtual” electrodes) that emit propagating waves within the tissue without implanting physical electrodes and thereby may be more effective than point-source stimulation.

Circulation 120: 467–476