Analysis of Complications in 1000 Consecutive Radiofrequency Catheter Ablations of Atrial Fibrillation

Keywords: atrial fibrillation, catheter ablation, perioperative, pericardial tamponade, arteriovenous fistula, iatrogenic AV block, non-irrigated catheters


Introduction. In patients with drug-refractory symptomatic atrial fibrillation (AF), radiofrequency catheter ablation has become the main treatment option. Despite advances in technology and experience, the incidence of complications for this procedure reported by researchers still varies. In the USA, irrigated catheters are used nearly always, mostly with contact force sensing. We used conventional catheters.

The aim. To analyze the complications in 1000 consecutive radiofrequency catheter ablations of atrial fibrillation.

Results and discussion. Non-irrigated 4 mm tip ablation catheters and two venous punctures were used. In total, 32 (3.2%) complications were observed. Pericardial tamponade was observed in 6 cases (0.6%), pericardial effusion in 7 (0.7%), pericardial puncture without effusion in 1 (0.1%), pericarditis in 1 (0.1%), complete atrioventricular (AV) block in 2 (0.2%), transient AV block in 1 (0.1%), stroke in 2 (0.2%), diaphragm paresis with pneumonia in 1 (0.1%), femoral artery aneurysm in 6 (0.6%), femoral hematoma requiring blood transfusion in 2 (0.2%), arteriovenous fistula in 2 (0.2%), hematuria in 1 (0.1%).

Similar frequency of iatrogenic AV block was reported in the literature.

There were 26 (3.4%) complications during 794 primary procedures. After 206 repeated procedures, we observed 2 femoral hematomas, 2 femoral artery aneurysms, 1 arteriovenous fistula and 1 complete AV block – a total of 6 (2.9%) complications.

In several reports the incidence of life-threatening complications was lower than that in our study. However, the total number of complications in our group is at the level of the best results, despite the fact that we do not use irrigated catheters, esophageal temperature probes and endovascular ultrasound probes.

Conclusions. The technique that we use is as safe as other methods of AF radiofrequency catheter ablation.


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How to Cite
Meshkova, M., & Doronin, A. (2021). Analysis of Complications in 1000 Consecutive Radiofrequency Catheter Ablations of Atrial Fibrillation. Ukrainian Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery, (2 (43), 67-71.