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J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2010 Jul;21(7):818-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8167.2009.01711.x. Epub 2010 Feb 1.

Right coronary artery occlusion during RF ablation of typical atrial flutter.

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  • 1Sections of Cardiology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


Right coronary artery (RCA) occlusion and acute myocardial infarction are rare during radiofrequency (RF) ablation of the cavotricuspid isthmus. Ventricular fibrillation (VF) or cardiac arrest in the periprocedural period may be the initial or only clinical manifestation. Septal or lateral RF delivery may increase the risk. We report 2 cases of RCA occlusion during ablation of typical atrial flutter (AFL). Angiographic and anatomical correlations are illustrated. One patient was ablated with a septal approach, the other with a lateral approach, and in each instance the RCA occluded near the ablative lesions. If septal or lateral ablation lines are contemplated during ablation of isthmus-dependent atrial flutter, fluoroscopic or electroanatomic confirmation of catheter position is pivotal. Smaller tipped catheters, energy titration (to minimally effective dose), saline irrigation, or cryoablation should also be considered to help avoid this serious complication.

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