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Circulation. 1996 Aug 1;94(3):407-24.

Role of the tricuspid annulus and the eustachian valve/ridge on atrial flutter. Relevance to catheter ablation of the septal isthmus and a new technique for rapid identification of ablation success.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City 73104, USA.



Typical atrial flutter (AFL) results from right atrial reentry by propagation through an isthmus between the inferior vena cava (IVC) and tricuspid annulus (TA). We postulated that the eustachian valve and ridge (EVR) forms a line of conduction block between the IVC and coronary sinus (CS) ostium and forms a second isthmus (septal isthmus) between the TA and CS ostium.


Endocardial mapping in 30 patients with AFL demonstrated atrial activation around the TA in the counter-clockwise direction (left anterior oblique projection). Double atrial potentials were recorded along the EVR in all patients during AFL. Pacing either side of the EVR during sinus rhythm also produced double potentials, which indicated fixed anatomic block across EVR. Entrainment pacing at the septal isthmus and multiple sites around the TA produced a delta return interval < or = 8 ms in 14 of 15 patients tested. Catheter ablation eliminated AFL in all patients by ablation of the septal isthmus in 26 patients and the posterior isthmus in 4. AFL recurred in 2 of 12 patients (mean follow-up, 33.9 +/- 16.3 months) in whom ablation success was defined by the inability to reinduce AFL, compared with none of 18 patients (mean follow-up, 10.3 +/- 8.3 months) in whom success required formation of a complete line of conduction block between the TA and the EVR, identified by CS pacing that produced atrial activation around the TA only in the counterclockwise direction and by pacing the posterior TA with only clockwise atrial activation.


(1) The EVR forms a line of fixed conduction block between the IVC and the CS; (2) the EVR and the TA provide boundaries for the AFL reentrant circuit; and (3) verification of a complete line of block between the TA and the EVR is a more reliable criterion for long-term ablation success.

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