Elimination of atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia using discrete slow potentials to guide application of radiofrequency energy.
BACKGROUND Ablation of the slow pathway has been performed to eliminate atrioventricular (AV) nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT) either by a surgical approach or by using radiofrequency catheter technique guided by retrograde slow pathway activation mapping. From previous experience of midseptal and posteroseptal mapping, we were aware of the existence of peculiar slow potentials in most humans. Postulating their role in AVNRT, we studied these potentials and the effects of radiofrequency energy.
METHODS AND RESULTS Sixty-four patients (mean age, 48 +/- 19 years) with the usual form of AVNRT were studied. Slow, low-amplitude potentials were recorded when using the anterograde AV conducting system. Slow potentials occupied all (giving a continuum of electrograms) or some of the time between the atrial and ventricular electrograms. Their most specific patterns were their progressive response to increasing atrial rates, which resulted in a dramatic decline in amplitude and slope, a corresponding increase in duration, and a separation from preceding atrial potentials until the disappearance of any consistent activity. Slow potentials were recorded along a vertical band at the mid or posterior part of the septum near the tricuspid annulus. Radiofrequency energy applied at the slow potential site resulted in interruption of induced tachycardia within a few seconds and rendered tachycardia noninducible in all patients. A median of two impulses was delivered to each patient. In 69% of patients, postablation atrial stimulation cannot achieve a long atrial-His interval, which previously was critical for tachycardia induction or maintenance. No patient had AVNRT over a follow-up period of 1-16 months, and all had preserved AV conduction. In all except two patients, the PR interval was unchanged. In 47 patients, long-term electrophysiological studies confirmed the efficacy of ablation and the nonreversibility of results by isoproterenol; however, echo beats remained inducible in 40% of patients.
CONCLUSIONS An area showing slow potentials is present at the perinodal region in humans. In patients with AVNRT, application of radiofrequency energy renders tachycardia noninducible through the preferential modification of the anterograde slow pathway. With present clinical methods, the exact origin and significance of these physiological potentials cannot be specified.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association