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Am J Cardiol. 1988 Feb 1;61(4):309-16.

Developments, complications and limitations of catheter-mediated electrical ablation of posterior accessory atrioventricular pathways.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle.


Nineteen patients with posterior accessory pathways and disabling, refractory arrhythmias, underwent catheter ablation using standard defibrillator pulses at energy settings of 150 to 400 J. Accessory pathway ablation was successful in 13 of 19 (68%). Effective catheter ablation correlated with local ventriculoatrial (VA) intervals determined from the coronary sinus catheter at the site of earliest retrograde atrial activation during orthodromic reciprocating tachycardia. In 12 of the 13 successfully ablated patients, the local VA interval was less than 80 ms. In 4 of the 6 unsuccessfully treated patients, the local VA interval was greater than or equal to 80 ms, p less than 0.01. Transient abnormalities noted with the procedure included sinus bradycardia (3 patients), atrioventricular block (5), accelerated junctional rhythm (3), ectopic atrial tachycardia (2), myocardial depression (1), "ischemic" appearing T-wave inversions (10) and hemodynamically insignificant small pericardial effusions (5) Creatine kinase-MB increased from 3 +/- 2 U/liter to 26 +/- 18 U/liter (p less than 0.001), 4 to 8 hours after ablation. In addition, electrical shorts occurring during the ablation procedure in 2 patients were identified and corrected only with oscilloscopic monitoring of voltage and current waveforms. Significant adverse sequelae were seen in 4 patients. Three patients required sternotomy for control of cardiac tamponade secondary to a ruptured coronary sinus and 1 patient had a small posterior left ventricular infarction related to spasm of a right coronary artery extension branch. Coronary sinus rupture correlated with the ratio of catheter diameter to coronary sinus diameter.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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