Objective: This study is to evaluate the feasibility and safety of intracardiac radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) of the atrioventricular node (AVN) and pacemaker implantation using transthoracic echocardiography.
Methods: Eleven patients – six males and five females (mean age 66 years) – with persistent or permanent atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter received RFCA of AVN and VVI pacemaker implantation (paces and senses the ventricle and is inhibited if it senses ventricular activity). Under transthoracic echocardiography, the electrode catheters were positioned intracardiac, and target ablation was performed, with the permanent pacemaking catheter in the left subclavian vein and the ablation catheter in the right femoral vein. The multi-view imaging and dynamic observation applied during the stable AV dissociation were successful.
Results: Atrioventricular node ablation and permanent pacemaker implantation in 11 patients were completed successfully without X-ray exposure. The operation success rate was 100%. All patients recovered well within the follow-up period.
Conclusions: Radiofrequency catheter ablation of AVN and VVI pacemaker implantation under transthoracic echocardiography guidance is a safe, easy and feasible approach. This procedure could be an important supplemental measure to catheter ablation of arrhythmia under routine X-ray fluoroscopy.