Atrial Ablation Lesion Evaluation by Cardiac Magnetic Resonance: Review of Imaging Strategies and Histological Correlations

Luuk H. G. A. Hopman, Nikki van Pouderoijen, Mark J. Mulder, Anja M. van der Laan, Pranav Bhagirath, Saman Nazarian, Hans W. M. Niessen, Victor A. Ferrari, Cornelis P. Allaart, Marco J. W. Götte

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging is a valuable noninvasive tool for evaluating tissue response following catheter ablation of atrial tissue. This review provides an overview of the contemporary CMR strategies to visualize atrial ablation lesions in both the acute and chronic postablation stages, focusing on their strengths and limitations. Moreover, the accuracy of CMR imaging in comparison to atrial lesion histology is discussed. T2-weighted CMR imaging is sensitive to edema and tends to overestimate lesion size in the acute stage after ablation. Noncontrast agent-enhanced T1-weighted CMR imaging has the potential to provide more accurate assessment of lesions in the acute stage but may not be as effective in the chronic stage. Late gadolinium enhancement imaging can be used to detect chronic atrial scarring, which may inform repeat ablation strategies. Moreover, novel imaging strategies are being developed, but their efficacy in characterizing atrial lesions is yet to be determined. Overall, CMR imaging has the potential to provide virtual histology that aids in evaluating the efficacy and safety of catheter ablation and monitoring of postprocedural myocardial changes. However, technical factors, scanning during arrhythmia, and transmurality assessment pose challenges. Therefore, further research is needed to develop CMR strategies to visualize the ablation lesion maturation process more effectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2665-2679
Number of pages15
JournalJACC: Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number12
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • ablation lesion
  • atrial ablation
  • atrial fibrillation
  • cardiac magnetic resonance imaging
  • interventional MRI
  • lesion histology

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