Combined Single-Session Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance: Stress Perfusion and Three-Dimensional Pulmonary Vein Angiography for Stratification of Atrial Fibrillation Patients with Chest Pain Syndromes Prior to Catheter Ablation


To determine the clinical utility of a combined single-session cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging protocol integrating adenosine stress perfusion and three-dimensional pulmonary vein angiography for stratification of atrial fibrillation (AF) patients referred for pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) and complaining about chest pain syndromes.


The preprocedural CMR examination (adenosine stress perfusion, late gadolinium enhancement, and three-dimensional pulmonary vein angiography) was performed in 357 consecutive AF patients with chest pain syndromes referred for PVI. Stress perfusion results were used for stratification: ischaemia positive patients underwent invasive coronary angiography, ischaemia negative patients underwent PVI, and follow-up/outcome data were collected (combined primary endpoint of cardiac death/non-fatal myocardial infarction). The integrated CMR protocol had a high success rate (356/357, 99.7%), a short total examination duration (<30 min in all patients), and delivered high-quality three-dimensional pulmonary vein angiography in all patients undergoing PVI (324/324, 100%). Variants of pulmonary vein anatomy were identified in 33% of all patients (117/357). Stress positivity (28/356, 8%) had a high positive predictive value for identification of obstructive coronary artery disease (86%), while stress negativity carried a low short-term event rate following PVI (cumulative 1-year event-free survival rate, 99.6%).


Combined single-session CMR as a routine diagnostic workup for AF patients with chest pain syndromes prior to PVI proved to represent a time-efficient and effective stratification tool.