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CT of the Pulmonary Veins

Lacomis, Joan M. MD*; Goitein, Orly MD; Deible, Christopher MD, PhD*; Schwartzman, David MD

Journal of Thoracic Imaging:
doi: 10.1097/RTI.0b013e3180317aaf

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common cardiac rhythm disturbance and its incidence is increasing. Radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) is a highly successful therapy for treating AF, and its use is becoming more widespread; however, with its increasing use and evolving technique, known complications are better understood and new complications are emerging. Computed tomography (CT) of the pulmonary veins, or more correctly, the posterior left atrium (LA), has an established role in precisely defining the complex anatomy of the LA and pulmonary veins preablation and has an expanding role in identifying the myriad of possible complications postablation. The purposes of this article are: to review AF and RFCA; to discuss CT evaluation of the LA and pulmonary veins preablation; and to review the complications of RFCA focusing on the role of CT postablation.

Author Information

*Department of Radiology

Cardiovascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Department of Radiology, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel

Reprints: Joan M. Lacomis, MD, UPMC Presbyterian, Suite E-177, 200 Lothrop St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2582 (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.