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J Interv Card Electrophysiol. 2012 Nov;35(2):183-7. doi: 10.1007/s10840-012-9696-z. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

Approaches to empiric ablation of slow pathway: results from the Canadian EP web survey.

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Arrhythmia Services, Schulich Heart Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Suite D-377, Toronto, ON, M4N 3M5, Canada.



Dual atrioventricular nodal physiology (DAVNP) is a frequent finding in patients with suspected or documented supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). Empiric slow pathway ablation (ESPA) is sometimes performed in patients with DAVNP without inducible SVT at the time of electrophysiological study. Evidence to guide this practice in the adult population is limited. This study was aimed to assess the practice of ESPA by adult electrophysiologists in Canada.


All Canadian interventional electrophysiologists (n = 81) were invited to complete a web-based questionnaire assessing their practice of ESPA in patients with suspected and documented SVT. Operator experience, reimbursement models, diagnostic, and treatment decisions regarding ESPA were assessed with case scenarios.


Forty-one responses (50 %) were obtained. Ninety-five percent of the responders stated that the evidence for ESPA is lacking or limited. Responders were more likely to perform ESPA in the setting of non-inducible SVT when there was documentation of the clinical arrhythmia (64 vs. 31 % (p = 0.017)). The threshold to perform ESPA was highly variable. Longer time in practice (r = 0.38, p = 0.017) and less perceived complications with ESPA (r = 0.31, p = 0.05) were correlated with the practice of ESPA, whereas length of ablation waiting lists (r = -0.15, p = 0.38), number of procedures performed per day (r = 0.11, p = 0.51) and type of reimbursement (p = 0.24) were not associated with the practice of ESPA. The perceived complication rate with ESPA was <1 %.


Variability in the practice of ESPA in cases of non-inducible SVT exists. Documentation of the clinical arrhythmia, operator experience, and perceived low complication rates positively influence this practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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