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Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2014 Feb;7(1):113-9. doi: 10.1161/CIRCEP.113.000986. Epub 2013 Dec 23.

Risk of coronary artery injury with radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation of epicardial posteroseptal accessory pathways within the coronary venous system.

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Heart Rhythm Institute, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City.



Ablation of epicardial posteroseptal accessory pathways requires ablation within the coronary venous system. We assessed the risk of coronary artery (CA) injury with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) within the coronary venous system as a function of the distance between the CA and ablation site. We also examined the efficacy and safety of cryoablation close to a CA.


Two-hundred forty patients underwent ablation for epicardial posteroseptal accessory pathways. Coronary angiography was performed before ablation in the last 169 patients and was repeated after ablation if performed in the coronary venous system within 5 mm of a significant CA. The distance between the ideal ablation site and closest CA was <2 mm in 100 (59%), 3 to 5 mm in 28 (16%), and >5 mm in 41 of 169 (25%) patients. CA injury was observed in 11 of 22 (50%) and 1 of 15 (7%) patients when RFA was performed within 2 and 3 to 5 mm of a CA, respectively. Cryoablation was performed in 26 patients with a significant CA located within 5 mm. Cryoablation alone eliminated epicardial posteroseptal accessory pathway conduction in 17 of 26 (65%) patients and in 8 patients with additional RFA without CA narrowing in any patient. During a follow-up period of 3 to 6 months, single procedure success rates were 90% and 77% for RFA and cryoablation at the ideal site, respectively.


The risk of CA injury with RFA is correlated inversely with the distance from the ablation site. Cryoablation is a safe and reasonably effective alternative when a significant CA is located close to the ideal ablation site.


Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome; catheter ablation; coronary angiography; cryosurgery; radiofrequency catheter ablation

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