Cryosurgical modification of retrograde atrioventricular conduction: Implications for the surgical treatment of atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia

Academic Article


  • Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia resulting from atrioventricular nodal reentry is a common arrhythmia that usually responds to medical therapy. When atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia is refractory to medical therapy, cryoablation or endocardial catheter ablation of the His bundle has been employed to protect the ventricles from the tachycardia. However, these techniques necessitate implantation of a permanent ventricular pacemaker. A cryosurgical procedure that ablates the anatomic-electrophysiologic substrate for atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia while preserving antegrade atrioventricular conduction has been described. The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of this procedure on retrograde atrioventricular conduction and on the ventricular echo phenomenon in particular. Thirty adult mongrel dogs underwent either the cryosurgical procedure (n = 20) or a sham operation (n = 10). The animals were studied either immediately postoperatively (acute cryosurgery group and control group, n = 10 for each group) or 14 weeks postoperatively (chronic cryosurgery group, n = 10). Decremental ventricular pacing and programmed premature ventricular pacing protocols were used to determine the retrograde atrioventricular nodal conduction time, Wenckebach point, atrioventricular nodal refractory periods, and ventricular echo reflection time. No electrophysiologic alterations were noted in the sham-operated group. In the acute cryosurgery group, the retrograde Wenckebach point, atrioventricular nodal conduction time, functional refractory period of the atrioventricular node, effective refractory period of the atrioventricular node, and ventricular echo reflection time were all significantly prolonged. In the chronic cryosurgery group, no significant change in ventriculoatrial conduction was noted, but the ventricular echo phenomenon was eliminated in all but one animal. These data further document that this cryosurgical proccedure is capable of ablating the anatomic-electrophysiologic substrate necessary for atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia while preserving atrioventricular conduction.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Holman WL; Ikeshita M; Lease JG; Smith PK; Lofland GK; Cox JL
  • Start Page

  • 826
  • End Page

  • 834
  • Volume

  • 91
  • Issue

  • 6