Rambam Grand Rounds

MRI-Guided Electrophysiology Intervention

Henry Halperin and Aravindan Kolandaivelu


Catheter ablation is a first-line treatment for many cardiac arrhythmias and is generally performed under X-ray fluoroscopy guidance. However, current techniques for ablating complex arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia are associated with sub-optimal success rates and prolonged radiation exposure. Pre-procedure 3-D magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has improved understanding of the anatomic basis of complex arrhythmias and is being used for planning and guidance of ablation procedures. A particular strength of MRI compared to other imaging modalities is the ability to visualize ablation lesions. Post-procedure MRI is now being applied to assess ablation lesion location and permanence with the goal of identifying factors leading to procedure success and failure. In the future, intra-procedure real-time MRI, together with the ability to image complex 3-D arrhythmogenic anatomy and target additional ablation to regions of incomplete lesion formation, may allow for more successful treatment of even complex arrhythmias without exposure to ionizing radiation. Development of clinical grade MRI-compatible electrophysiology devices is required to transition intra-procedure MRI from preclinical studies to more routine use in patients.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2010;1(2):e0015