Impact of low-level electromagnetic fields on the inducibility of atrial fibrillation in the electrophysiology laboratory

Daniel Sohinki, Joshua Thomas, Benjamin Scherlag, Stavros Stavrakis, Ali Yousif, Sunny Po, Tarun Dasari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia in adults. Research suggests that autonomic nervous (ANS) system dysfunction contributes to AF pathophysiology. Animal studies have shown that low-level electromagnetic fields (LL-EMF) are potentially capable of AF suppression. This study evaluated the safety and efficacy of LL-EMF in suppressing AF in humans. Objective: To investigate the impact of LL-EMF on AF inducibility in humans. Methods: Patients presenting for ablation of paroxysmal AF were randomized to a sham protocol or LL-EMF (3.2 × 10-8 G at 0.89 Hz) applied via a Helmholtz coil around the head. AF was induced via atrial pacing, and was cardioverted if duration was greater than 15 minutes. The protocol was then run for 60 minutes, followed by reinduction of AF. The primary endpoint was the duration of pacing-induced AF after protocol completion compared between groups. Results: Eighteen patients completed the study protocol (n = 10 sham, n = 8 LL-EMF). Pacing-induced AF duration in the LL-EMF group was 11.0 ± 3.43 minutes shorter than control after protocol completion (CI 3.72–18.28 minutes, P =.03). A smaller proportion of LL-EMF patients experienced spontaneous firing initiating an AF episode (0/7 vs 5/6, P =.0047). A significantly greater proportion of patients in the control group required direct current cardioversion after 1 hour (0.78 vs 0.13, P =.02). Conclusion: In patients with paroxysmal AF, LL-EMF stimulation results in shorter episodes of pacing-induced AF and a reduced likelihood of spontaneous firing initiating an episode of AF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-246
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Rhythm O2
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Autonomic modulation
  • Catheter ablation
  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Translational research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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