Cryosurgical ablation of the atrioventricular node-His bundle: long-term follow-up and properties of the junctional pacemaker.
We used a cryosurgical technique to ablate the atrioventricular (AV) node-His bundle in twenty-two selected patients with disabling supraventricular tachyarrhythmias unresponsive to medical management. Successful AV block was achieved in seventeen. There was no intraoperative mortality and significant surgical complications were not encountered. Electrophysiologic studies performed 7-10 days after surgery revealed that the subsidiary pacemaker had a narrow QRS complex morphology and a mean cycle length of 1244 msec. Isoproterenol (1-4 microgram/min i.v.) significantly increased (p less than 0.01) the rate of the subsidiary pacemaker (mean maximum response 1008.3 msec); atropine (2 mg i.v.) had no effect on its rate. The cycle length of the subsidiary pacemaker during long-term follow-up (mean 14.8 months) showed a small but significant (p = 0.024) increase (mean cycle length 1430 msec). Treadmill exercise in seven patients did not result in the subsidiary pacemaker exceeding the rate of the implanted demand pacemaker set at 70 beats/min. The properties of the subsidiary pacemaker suggest an intra-Hisian site of impulse formation.
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