Introduction: The finding of left atria diverticula (LAD) on cardiac computed tomography images obtained from patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) referred for pulmonary vein isolation is not uncommon. Prior studies reporting on LAD do not always provide definitions of LAD resulting in confusion with other anatomical structures such as left atrial accessory appendages (LAAA) and atrial aneurysms. The aim of this review is to identify an accurate definition of LAD and to describe distinctive properties between LAD and other left atrial structures, such as LAAA and aneurysms. Also, the relation between LAD and development of atrial tachyarrhythmias is discussed. Methods: PubMed was searched for studies reporting on atrial aneurysms, left atrial diverticula, left atrial accessory appendages and atrial congenital aneurysms, resulting in 36 papers. Results: LAD can be distinguished from LAAA by taking into account embryologic origins of the left atrium and their locations, resulting in the following definitions: (a) LAAA are contractile, trabeculated structures with circumscriptive ostia and narrow necks, originating from the primitive atria, (b) LAD are contractile, sac like structures with either smooth or trabeculated inner surfaces, circumscriptive ostia, narrow necks, and variable morphologies, originating from the embryologic common pulmonary vein, that incorporates into the LA, and (c) atrial aneurysms are non-contractile structures with wide necks and sac like bodies. There are no differences in prevalences of LAD between patients with sinus rhythm and AF. Conclusion: The pathophysiology of LAD is not yet fully understood. It is unlikely, that LAD are related to the development of atrial tachycardia's and AF by either being a source of ectopic activity or being part of an arrhythmogenic substrate. No differences in LAD prevalences between patients with sinus rhythm and AF have been found. Thus, it is unlikely that LAD could potentially be wolves in sheep's clothing.

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Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology
Department of Cardiology

Veen, D. (Danny), Bruning, T.A. (Tobias A.), & de Groot, N.M.S. (2020). Left atrial diverticula: Innocent bystanders or wolves in sheep's clothing?. Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology. doi:10.1111/jce.14581