In selected patients with atrial fibrillation, the fibrillation episodes may be initiated by single or short bursts of ectopy often originating from one or more pulmonary veins (PVs). Therefore, electrical isolation of these veins by catheter ablation is currently being explored as a treatment modality for patients with paroxysmal and even more permanent types of atrial fibrillation. At present, two different techniques are used: 1) selective ablation of electrical connections between left atrium and myocardial sleeves inside the PVs; and 2) contiguous encircling lesions around and outside the PV ostia. With both techniques, moderate to high success rates have been reported with a limited follow-up duration. Both types of procedure are very complex and require a highly skilful team. With the variable anatomy of the PVs, non-invasively acquired angiographic images may serve as a roadmap for catheter manipulation. Modern three-dimensional catheter navigation techniques can be applied to facilitate accurate catheter positioning with limited fluoroscopic exposure. Experimental and clinical research is needed to define patient selection criteria
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