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      Radio-Frequency Ablation of Atrial Flutter: Long-Term Results and Predictive Value of Cavo-Tricuspid Isthmus Bidirectional Block as Determined by a Simplified Technique

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          Objectives: Complete bidirectional cavo-tricuspid isthmus (CTI) block is mandatory for radio-frequency (RF) ablation of typical atrial flutter (AF). CTI block can be assessed by a simplified method using two catheters and the technique of differential pacing, but long-term results in large series are poorly known. Methods: CTI RF ablation was performed in 255 consecutive patients with typical AF, using one quadripolar catheter, and the ablation catheter, in association with the technique of differential pacing. Results: Procedural success, as defined by documentation of complete bidirectional CTI block using limited activation mapping, positive differential pacing together with termination of ongoing AF, was achieved in 80% of patients. AF recurred in 37 patients (14%) over a mean follow-up period of 15 ± 9 months. Two hundred and forty-one patients (94%) were finally cured, with 1.1 procedures/patient. The recurrence rate was related to the achievement of complete CTI bidirectional block (12% vs. 29%, p = 0.01). Conclusions: Long-term results of CTI ablation, employing a simplified method using the differential pacing technique, are similar to those for the standard methods using multipolar catheters. Therefore, this technique compares favorably to other established methods for such common RF procedures, especially due to its lower cost.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Prospective randomized comparison of antiarrhythmic therapy versus first-line radiofrequency ablation in patients with atrial flutter.

          Despite the high success rate of radiofrequency (RF) ablation, pharmacologic therapy is still considered the standard initial therapeutic approach for atrial flutter. We prospectively compared the outcome at follow-up of patients with atrial flutter randomly assigned to drug therapy or RF ablation. Patients with at least two episodes of symptomatic atrial flutter in the last four months were randomized to regimens of either antiarrhythmic drug therapy or first-line RF ablation. After institution of therapy, end points included recurrence of atrial flutter, rehospitalization and quality of life. A total of 61 patients entered the study, 30 of whom were randomized to drug therapy and 31 to RF ablation. After a mean follow-up of 21 +/- 11 months, 11 of 30 (36%) patients receiving drugs were in sinus rhythm, versus 25 of 31 (80%) patients who underwent RF ablation (p < 0.01). Of the patients receiving drugs, 63% required one or more rehospitalizations, whereas post-RF ablation, only 22% of patients were rehospitalized (p < 0.01). Following RF ablation, 29% of patients developed atrial fibrillation which was seen in 53% of patients receiving medications (p < 0.05). Sense of well being (pre-RF 2.0 +/- 0.3 vs. post-RF 3.8 +/- 0.5, p < 0.01) and function in daily life (pre-RF 2.3 +/- 0.4 vs. post-RF 3.6 +/- 0.6, p < 0.01) improved after ablation, but did not change significantly in patients treated with drugs. In a selected group of patients with atrial flutter, RF ablation could be considered a first-line therapy due to the better success rate and impact on quality of life, the lower occurrence of atrial fibrillation and the lower need for rehospitalization at follow-up.
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            Radiofrequency ablation of the inferior vena cava-tricuspid valve isthmus in common atrial flutter.

            Endocardial mapping has suggested that common atrial flutter (AF) is based on right atrial reentry surrounding the inferior vena cava (IVC). The isthmus between the IVC and the tricuspid valve (TV) appears essential to close the circuit. To test this hypothesis, radiofrequency was applied to the IVC-TV isthmus, with catheter electrodes, in 9 patients with AF. Mapping confirmed a right atrial circuit surrounding the IVC in all. In 4 patients another type of AF was induced that followed the circuit in the opposite direction. Radiofrequency interrupted AF in all patients. Multiple endocardial recordings showed that interruption was due to activation block at the point of application. Radiofrequency produced very brief or sustained, atrial fibrillation in 2 patients, which resulted in sinus rhythm. AF recurred in 4 patients with the same activation pattern and was interrupted again with radiofrequency in the IVC-TV isthmus in 3. AF was noninducible in 7 patients after 1 to 4 sessions. AF-free periods of 2 to 18 months without drugs were observed after radiofrequency, but 2 patients had paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. These results confirm that the IVC-TV isthmus is an essential part of the AF circuit. Ablation of this area may be of therapeutic value, but technical improvements are needed. Long-term efficacy of the procedure is uncertain.
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              Incidence and predictors of atrial flutter in the general population.

              The goal of our study was to determine the incidence and predictors of atrial flutter in the general population. Although atrial flutter can now be cured, there are no reports on its epidemiology in unselected patients. The Marshfield Epidemiological Study Area (MESA), a database that captures nearly all medical care among its 58,820 residents was used to ascertain all new cases of atrial flutter diagnosed from July 1, 1991 to June 30, 1995. To identify predisposing risk factors, we employed an age- and gender-matched case-control study design using eight additional variables. A total of 181 new cases of atrial flutter were diagnosed for an overall incidence of 88/100,000 person-years. Incidence rates ranged from 5/100,000 in those <50 years old to 587/100,000 in subjects older than 80. Atrial flutter was 2.5 times more common in men (p < 0.001). The risk of developing atrial flutter increased 3.5 times (p < 0.001) in subjects with heart failure and 1.9 times (p < 0.001) for subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Among those with atrial flutter 16% were attributable to heart failure and 12% to chronic obstructive lung disease. Three subjects (1.7%) without identifiable predisposing risks were labeled as having "lone atrial flutter." This study, the first population-based investigation of atrial flutter, suggests this curable condition is much more common than previously appreciated. If our findings were applicable to the entire U.S. population, we estimate 200,000 new cases of atrial flutter in this country annually. At highest risk of developing atrial flutter are men, the elderly and individuals with preexisting heart failure or chronic obstructive lung disease.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                April 2008
                10 October 2007
                : 110
                : 1
                : 17-28
                aFédération de Cardiologie, University Hospital Rangueil, Toulouse, and bCardiologie B, University Hospital Arnaud de Villeneuve, Montpellier, France
                109402 Cardiology 2008;110:17–28
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 4, References: 56, Pages: 12
                Original Research


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