June 13, 1994

Curative Transcatheter Radiofrequency Current Ablation for Atrioventricular Nodal Reentry Tachycardia

Author Affiliations

From the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Arch Intern Med. 1994;154(11):1226-1231. doi:10.1001/archinte.1994.00420110070008

Background:  To evaluate the efficacy of atrioventricular nodal modification by transcatheter ablation using radiofrequency energy in preventing electrically inducible and spontaneous symptomatic atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia, a prospective, nonrandomized, "before-after" trial was performed. Fifty consecutive patients with recurrent spontaneous symptomatic atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia referred to the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, were recruited.

Methods:  A diagnostic intracardiac electrophysiologic study was performed to define the mechanism of each patient's supraventricular tachycardia. Thereafter, selective ablation of one or more slow atrioventricular nodal pathways was attempted in 47 patients, and in three patients selective ablation of a retrograde fast atrioventricular nodal pathway was carried out. Repeated programmed cardiac stimulation was performed 30 minutes after catheter ablation therapy and, where possible, before hospital discharge to evaluate the presence of electrically inducible supraventricular tachycardia.

Results:  Electrically inducible atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia was eliminated in all 50 patients. No patient developed early heart block. During a mean (±SD) follow-up period of 8.9±5.3 months, three patients experienced a recurrence of spontaneous atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia and underwent a successful second ablation procedure. Two patients required permanent pacemaker implantation, one for symptomatic first-degree atrioventricular block and one for late complete heart block.

Conclusions:  Catheter ablation of slow atrioventricular nodal pathways by means of radiofrequency current is a safe and effective technique for eliminating electrically inducible and spontaneous atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia.(Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:1226-1231)