Selective radiofrequency ablation of the slow pathway for the treatment of atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia: Evidence for involvement of perinodal myocardium within the reentrant circuit

Academic Article


  • Background. The circuit of atrioventricular (AV) nodal reentrant tachycardia may include perinodal atrial myocardium. Furthermore, in patients with dual AV nodal pathways, the atrial insertion of the slow pathway is likely to be located near the ostium of the coronary sinus, caudal to the expected location of the AV node. The present study was designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of selective catheter ablation of the slow pathway using radiofrequency energy applied along the tricuspid annulus near the coronary sinus ostium as definitive therapy for AV nodal reentrant tachycardia. Methods and Results. Among 34 consecutive patients who were prospectively enrolled in the study, the slow pathway was selectively ablated in 30, and the fast pathway was ablated in four. Antegrade conduction over the fast pathway remained intact in all 30 patients after successful selective slow pathway ablation. There was no statistically significant change in the atrio-His interval (68.5±21.8 msec before and 69.6±23.9 msec after ablation) or AV Wenckebach rate (167±27 beats per minute before and 178±50 beats per minute after ablation) after selective ablation of the slow pathway. However, the antegrade effective refractory period of the fast pathway decreased from 348±94 msec before ablation to 309±79 msec after selective slow pathway ablation (p=0.005). Retrograde conduction remained intact in 26 of 30 patients after selective ablation of the slow pathway. The retrograde refractory period of the ventriculoatrial conduction system was 285±55 msec before and 280±52 msec after slow pathway ablation in patients with intact retrograde conduction (p=NS). There were three complications in two patients, including an episode of pulmonary edema and the development of spontaneous AV Wenckebach block during sleep in one patient after slow pathway ablation and the late development of complete AV block in another patient after fast pathway ablation. Over a mean follow-up period of 322±73 days, AV nodal reentrant tachycardia recurred in three patients, all of whom were successfully treated in a second ablation session. Conclusions. Radiofrequency ablation of the slow AV pathway is highly effective and is associated with a low rate of complications.
  • Published In

  • Circulation  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kay GN; Epstein AE; Dailey SM; Plumb VJ
  • Start Page

  • 1675
  • End Page

  • 1688
  • Volume

  • 85
  • Issue

  • 5