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Am J Cardiol. 2007 Jul 1;100(1):154-6. Epub 2007 May 25.

Pseudo-atrial fibrillation, rare manifestation of multiple anterograde atrioventricular nodal pathways.

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  • 1Heart Rhythm Management Institute, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium.


In patients with dual or multiple atrioventricular (AV) nodal pathways manifesting nonreentrant tachycardia or unusual forms of AV nodal reentry, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation is often misdiagnosed and patients may erroneously be considered for pulmonary vein isolation. Multiple anterograde slow AV nodal pathways, identified by >1 discontinuity in the anterograde AV nodal conduction curve, are not rare in patients with slow-fast AV nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT). However, only 1 slow AV nodal pathway is usually involved in anterograde conduction during tachycardia. It was reported that patients with multiple anterograde slow AV nodal pathways presented with different tachycardia cycle lengths. For the first time, 2 patients with AVNRT in which maintenance of tachycardia was strictly dependent on participation of 3 different anterograde slow AV nodal pathways in an uniquely alternating sequence are reported. In both patients, a single application of radiofrequency energy in the posterior aspect of Koch's triangle eliminated simultaneously all evidence of anterograde slow pathway conduction. These findings implied that functional differences in a determined circuit based on nonuniform anisotropy rather than anatomically distinct pathways form the electrophysiologic basis for this rare variant of AVNRT. In conclusion, particularly in patients with lone atrial fibrillation who are potential candidates for pulmonary vein isolation, careful analysis of the surface electrocardiogram during irregular supraventricular tachycardia and invasive electrophysiologic examination helps identify rare arrhythmia mechanisms that can be cured by slow pathway ablation alone.

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