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Double-sector Lorenz plot scattering in an R-R interval analysis of patients with chronic atrial fibrillation: Incidence and characteristics of vertices of the double-sector scattering

Journal of Electrocardiology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0022-0736(98)90138-8
  • Heart Rate Variability
  • Ambulatory Electrocardiography
  • Refractory Period
  • Histogram
  • Electrophysiologic Study
  • Biology


Abstract Animal experiments have demonstrated that the minimum R-R interval during atrial fibrillation is proportional to the functional refractory period of the atrioventricular node. On Lorenz plots, atrial fibrillation is characterized by sector-shaped scattering; the vertex of the sector (ie, the minimum R-R interval) represents the functional refractory period. According to the atrioventricular nodal dual-pathway theory, it was hypothesized that the dual atrioventricular nodal pathways associated with chronic atrial fibrillation represent two vertices with two sectors. Detection of two-sector Lorenz plot scattering was attempted in 48 patients with chronic atrial fibrillation who underwent 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiography. Lorenz plot scattering was constructed by means of a computer. Two sectors, suggesting dual pathways, were detected in 19 (40%) of the 48 patients. The two vertices, located at 388 ± 61 ms (mean ± SD) and 580 ± 60 ms were considered to represent the functional refractory periods of the fast and slow pathways, respectively. The vertex indicating the fast pathway showed greater circadian variation than that indicating the slow pathway. In one patient with dual-sector Lorenz plot scattering, whose atrial fibrillation spontaneously converted to sinus rhythm, an electrophysiologic study demonstrated dual atrioventricular nodal pathways. Thus, the Lorenz plot analysis identified two sectors, indicating the dual pathways, in approximately 40% of the patients with chronic atrial fibrillation, and the characteristics of the functional refractory periods of both pathways were estimated from the characteristics of the vertices. Although this study did not provide direct evidence of the dual atrioventricular nodal pathways, the analysis of Lorenz plot scattering may be clinically useful for studying the effects of drugs and/or ablation on the ventricular response in patients with atrial fibrillation based on the dual atrioventricular nodal pathway theory.

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