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Prolongation of the fast pathway effective refractory period during cryoablation in children: a marker of slow pathway modification.

BACKGROUND: The fast pathway effective refractory period (ERP) has been reported to decrease after slow pathway modification with radiofrequency (RF) energy. How the fast pathway ERP changes during the ablation application has not been reported with either RF or cryoenergy.

OBJECTIVES: Using the unique features of cryotherapy, this study assesses the short-term changes in fast pathway ERP during cryomodification of the slow pathway and examines whether these changes are a useful marker for successful slow pathway modification in children.

METHODS: Nineteen pediatric patients (median age 15.1 years, range 9.6-19.6 years; weight 60.7 kg, range 35.6-130.2 kg) with anterograde dual AV nodal physiology underwent slow pathway modification with catheter-based cryoablation. Programmed stimulation was performed during cryoapplications after reaching -25 degrees C to assess fast pathway and slow pathway conduction. Data were analyzed from 59 of 237 cryoapplications where the fast pathway ERP was measured more than once (n = 13 patients).

RESULTS: For 23 of 59 applications where the slow pathway was modified, the fast pathway ERP significantly increased during cryotherapy (Delta = 33.5 ms, P <.0001). The magnitude of fast pathway ERP prolongation during cryotherapy was larger when the slow pathway was modified than when there was no effect on slow pathway conduction (33.5 +/- 30.5 vs 5.8 +/- 18.9 ms, P =.0005). Prolongation of fast pathway ERP by >/=20 ms had 70% sensitivity and 72% specificity for predicting slow pathway modification. Following termination of cryoapplications, which resulted in slow pathway modification, the fast pathway ERP had significantly decreased from baseline (difference 44.5 ms, P <.0001). The effect on fast pathway ERP was not related to changes in cycle length during (R(2) = 0.04, P = .045) or after ablation (R(2) = 0.13, P = .012).

CONCLUSION: The fast pathway ERP prolongs during cryoapplications that result in slow pathway modification and shortens after termination of cryoapplications. The magnitude of fast pathway ERP prolongation during cryoapplication may be useful as a marker for successful slow pathway modification.

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