Atrial Fibrillation

Heart Rhythm. 2015 Apr;12(4):809-17. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2014.12.022. Epub 2014 Dec 19.

The use of low-level electromagnetic fields to suppress atrial fibrillation.

Yu L1, Dyer JW2, Scherlag BJ2, Stavrakis S2, Sha Y2, Sheng X2, Garabelli P2, Jacobson J3, Po SS4.

Author information



Extremely low-level electromagnetic fields have been proposed to cause significant changes in neural networks.


We sought to investigate whether low-level electromagnetic fields can suppress atrial fibrillation (AF).


In 17 pentobarbital anesthetized dogs, bilateral thoracotomies allowed the placement of multielectrode catheters in both atria and at all pulmonary veins. AF was induced by rapid atrial pacing (RAP) or programmed atrial extrastimulation. At baseline and end of each hour of RAP, during sinus rhythm, atrial programmed stimulation gave both the effective refractory period (ERP) and the width of the window of vulnerability. The latter was a measure of AF inducibility. Microelectrodes inserted into the anterior right ganglionated plexi recorded neural firing. Helmholtz coils were powered by a function generator inducing an electromagnetic field (EMF; 0.034 μG, 0.952 Hz). The study sample was divided into 2 groups: group 1 (n = 7)-application of EMF to both cervical vagal trunks; group 2 (n = 10)-application of EMF across the chest so that the heart was located in the center of the coil.


In group 1, EMF induced a progressive increase in AF threshold at all pulmonary vein and atrial sites (all P < .05). In group 2, the atrial ERP progressively shortened and ERP dispersion and window of vulnerability progressively increased (P < .05 compared to baseline values) during 3 hours of RAP and then returned to baseline values during 3 hours of combined application of RAP and EMF (P < .05 compared to the end of the third hour of RAP). The frequency and amplitude of the neural activity recorded from the anterior right ganglionated plexi were markedly suppressed by EMF in both groups.


Pulsed EMF applied to the vagal trunks or noninvasively across the chest can significantly reverse AF inducibility.

Copyright © 2015 Heart Rhythm Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Atrial fibrillation; Autonomic nervous system; Electromagnetic fieldPMID: 25533588 DOI: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2014.12.022