Abstract : The accuracy in the extraction of the atrial activity (AA) from electrocardiogram (ECG) signals recorded during atrial fibrillation (AF) episodes plays an important role in the analysis and characterization of atrial arrhhythmias. The present contribution puts forward a new method for AA signal automatic extraction based on a blind source separation (BSS) formulation that exploits spatial information about the AA during the T-Q segments. This prior knowledge is used to optimize the spectral content of the AA signal estimated by BSS on the full ECG recording. The comparative performance of the method is evaluated on real data recorded from AF sufferers. The AA extraction quality of the proposed technique is comparable to that of previous algorithms, but is achieved at a reduced cost and without manual selection of parameters.