Catheter-based radiofrequency (RF) ablation targeting segments of the cardiac conduction system and/or selected regions of myocardium is an accepted treatment for many cardiac arrhythmias. On the other hand, while purposeful extension of RF ablation to include nearby cardiac neural elements, particularly epicardial ganglionated plexi (GP), remains a subject of ongoing study, inadvertent stimulation of such structures may occur during an otherwise conventional RF ablation procedure. Thus, asystolic pauses have been observed during RF ablation of left ventricular free-wall accessory pathways, slow AV node pathways, and the left superior pulmonary vein. In this report, sinus arrest occurred within 3.3 s of RF application (40 W at 50°C) along the coronary sinus roof for treatment of an atypical “slow–slow” atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia. Energy delivery was immediately terminated, but asystole persisted for 4.7 s followed by sinus bradycardia. The procedure was temporarily halted, but later was successfully resumed. Given the latency from terminating RF to return of sinus node function, the sinus arrest was likely a centrally mediated reflex vagal response. Consequently, while parasympathetic ganglia near the CS os are believed to principally innervate the AV node, not the sinus node, our observation highlights the neural cross-communications that likely exist in this region of the heart.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Annals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC
- atypical AV node reentry tachycardia
- radiofrequency ablation
- sinus arrest