13. “How can I determine or measure how much fibrosis I have? I’ve had A-Fib for several years and have read that it may produce fibrosis and collagen deposits in the atrium. Can something non-invasive like a CT scan measure fibrosis?”
The more one stays in A-Fib, the more fibrosis and collagen are formed in the atrium [the remodeling effect]. Electrophysiologists (EPs) can measure fibrosis by going inside the heart and mapping fibrosis with a voltage monitoring catheter. Recent research indicates that Fibrosis can be measured by an MRI.
Dr. Nassir Marrouche, University of Utah School Of Medicine, is pioneering the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure fibrotic heart tissue. MRI is better than fluoroscopy and CAT scans because it reveals damaged, fibrotic tissue due to atrial fibrillation. In addition to other factors, Dr. Marrouche considers the amount of fibrosis in the left atrium is key to ablation treatment success. (To learn more, see my report from the 2014 Boston AF Symposium: High Fibrosis at Greater Risk of Stroke and Precludes Catheter Ablation: Lessons Learned from the DECAAF Trial.)
Anyone in A-Fib might want to consider an MRI to measure their level of fibrosis.
To the best of my current knowledge, a Computerized tomography (CT scan) does not measure Fibrosis.
Thanks to Stewart Stafford for this question.
¤ Spragg, D., et al. Role of Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Atrial Fibrosis in Atrial Fibrillation Ablation. Arrhythmia & Electrophysiology Review 2013;2(2):124-7.
¤ Breakthrough: Use of MRI in Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation. StopAfib.org website. November 7, 2008 Last accessed March 29, 2014 URL: http://www.stopafib.org/newsitem.cfm/NEWSID/120