AimsPhrenic nerves (PNs) can be damaged during interventional cardiovascular therapy because of the nerves' proximity to the heart. This study aimed to analyse the anatomy of the PN by performing three-dimensional (3-D) imaging and pace mapping.Methods and resultsForty consecutive patients with atrial fibrillation referred for catheter ablation were enrolled in this study and underwent preoperative cardiovascular computed tomography (CT). In 10 patients with sinus rhythm during tomography, 3-D images of the right and left pericardiophrenic bundles (PBs), consisting of the ipsilateral PN and accompanying vessels, were reconstructed from the CT data. During the electrophysiological study, PN pace mapping was performed from both atria. The course of the PBs generated by CT imaging and the PN pace map generated by the 3-D mapping system were compared. By electrical pacing, the PNs were captured in 40 individuals (100%) from the superior vena cava and the right atrium, and in 17 patients (43%) from the left atrial appendage. Clear 3-D images of PBs were reconstructed in all cases in which CT-reconstruction was performed. The distance between the locations of the right PB generated by CT imaging and those of the right PN-capture sites in the right-sided heart on the mapping system was 8.7 ± 5.8 mm.ConclusionsThe 3-D routes of the bilateral PNs passing near the heart were verified by pace mapping. The preoperatively reconstructed 3-D course of the PB succeeded in locating the PN, which may facilitate the comprehension of PN anatomy to avoid its injury during interventional cardiovascular therapy.
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