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Circulation. 1995 Sep 15;92(6):1389-92.

Radiofrequency catheter ablation of type 1 atrial flutter. Prediction of late success by electrophysiological criteria.

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  • 1Service de Cardiologie (Groupe de Recherche VACOMED), Centre Hospitalier et Universitaire de Rouen, Hopital Charles Nicolle, France.



Radiofrequency energy has demonstrated its efficacy in catheter ablation of atrial flutter (AFl). However, long-term recurrences of AFl have been reported frequently after initial, apparently successful ablation. To date, criteria for prediction of late recurrences are lacking.


Twelve patients (10 men; mean age, 53.6 years; range, 26 to 69 years) were referred for AFl ablation. Duodecapolar and decapolar catheters were used for detailed mapping of the tricuspid ring, the inferior vena cavatricuspid annulus (IVC-TA) isthmus, and the coronary sinus ostium (CSOs) area. Additional multipolar catheters were used for recording activation of the coronary sinus and the CSOs-TA isthmus. AFl was present at baseline in 9 patients and was induced by proximal coronary sinus (PCS) pacing in 3. Counterclockwise right atrial activation was recorded in all patients. Primary success of ablation was defined as when AFl was no longer inducible even during isoproterenol infusion. AFl was successfully ablated in all 12 patients, with a median of 4 pulses delivered at the IVC-TA isthmus. In the 3 patients in whom AFl was induced, during PCS pacing in sinus rhythm before ablation, a collision of descending and ascending wave fronts was observed at the middle lateral right atrium (LRA). This activation pattern of the LRA also was noted after unsuccessful radiofrequency applications. Noninducibility of AFl after radiofrequency applications was associated with a change of activation pattern at the LRA and with an inversion of the activation sequence of the IVC-TA isthmus (from clockwise to counterclockwise) in 9 patients when pacing from the PCS. In 2 of 3 patients, despite noninducibility of atrial flutter, ablation was pursued to obtain evidence of permanent block of conduction at the IVC-TA isthmus. Finally, a completely descending LRA wave front was observed when pacing from the PCS in all patients except one. Low LRA pacing was also performed in 4 patients and showed evidence for block in the counterclockwise direction at the isthmus. During a follow-up of 9 +/- 3 months, AFl recurred in 1 patient; this was the only patient who showed no conduction block at the isthmus after the procedure.


Direction of impulse propagation at LRA and block of propagation at the IVC-TA isthmus during PCS and low LRA pacing appear to be of interest in predicting long-term success of AFl ablation.

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