2003 Volume 44 Issue 6 Pages 921-932
The optimal methods to perform external cardioversion of atrial fibrillation (AF) have yet to be conclusively determined. This study was performed to examine the relative efficacy of different pad positions on cardioversion success and the relationship between the transthoracic impedance (TTI) and energy requirement for AF cardioversion.
Seventy patients with persistent AF undergoing elective cardioversion were randomly assigned to an electrode pad position situated either over the ventricular apex-right infraclavicular area (AL group, n = 31) or over the right lower sternal border-left infrascapular area close to the spine (AP group, n = 39). Energy was delivered at an initial 100 joules (J) and then increased to 150 J, 200 J, 300 J, and 360 J if needed. Energy and TTI readings were recorded.
Mean TTI was significantly lower in the AP group than in the AL group. However, the cumulative success rates at each energy level were similar in the two groups (23% vs 19.4%, 41% vs 45.2%, 66.7% vs 74.2%, 79.5% vs 77.4%, and 84.6% vs 83.9% at 100 J, 150 J, 200 J, 300 J and 360 J, respectively). In the AP group, converters showed slightly lower TTI compared to nonconverters. In the AL group, converters showed significantly lower TTI compared to nonconverters. However, for all patients as a group, TTI was the only predictor for cardioversion success and showed a significant relationship to the energy required for cardioversion, which can be described by a quadratic equation.
Rather than pad position, TTI is the single factor that significantly affects cardioversion and correlates with energy requirement. The relationship between energy requirement and TTI further allows estimation of energy requirements to achieve a successful cardioversion.