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Ann Thorac Surg. 1990 Apr;49(4):565-72; discussion 572-3.

Skeletonization of the atrioventricular node for AV node reentrant tachycardia: experience with 32 patients.

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Department of Surgery, University of Western Ontario, University Hospital, London, Canada.


We describe our experience with operative therapy for atrioventricular (AV) node tachycardia using an anatomically guided procedure. The operative rationale was to dissect the AV node from most of its atrial inputs (AV node "skeletonization") with the intent of altering the perinodal substrate and preventing reentry. The anteroseptal and posteroseptal regions were initially approached epicardially to facilitate identification of anatomical structures. Under normothermic cardiopulmonary bypass, the right atrial septum was mobilized and the intermediate AV node was exposed anterior to the tendon of Todaro. Atrioventricular node conduction was monitored electrocardiographically throughout the procedure. Ablation of concomitant accessory pathways was done prior to AV node skeletonization. Thirty-two patients aged 9 to 67 years (mean age, 30 years) underwent operation. Five patients had concomitant accessory pathways in addition to AV node reentry. At electrophysiological study before discharge, no patient had AV block although anterograde and retrograde Wenckebach cycle lengths were significantly prolonged. Six patients had retrograde AV block. Twenty-nine patients are free from arrhythmia and require no antiarrhythmic medication after a follow-up of 1 month to 45 months (mean follow-up, 17 months). Three patients had recurrence of tachycardia ten days, 2 months, and 7 months postoperatively. All patients subsequently had a successful reoperation.

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