JOURNAL ARTICLE

Catheter ablation as a treatment of atrioventricular block

Stephen Tuohy, Walid Saliba, Manjunath Pai, Patrick Tchou
Heart Rhythm: the Official Journal of the Heart Rhythm Society 2018, 15 (1): 90-96
28823599

BACKGROUND: Symptomatic second-degree atrioventricular (AV) block is typically treated by implantation of a pacemaker. An otherwise healthy AV conduction system can nevertheless develop AV block due to interference from junctional extrasystoles. When present with a high burden, these can produce debilitating symptoms from AV block despite an underlying normal AV node and His-Purkinje system properties.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to describe a catheter ablation approach for alleviating symptomatic AV block due to a ventricular nodal pathway interfering with AV conduction.

METHODS: Common clinical monitoring techniques such as Holter and event recorders were used. Standard electrophysiological study techniques using multipolar recording and ablation catheters were utilized during procedures.

RESULTS: A 55-year-old woman presented with highly symptomatic, high-burden second-degree AV block due to concealed and manifest junctional premature beats. Electrophysiological characteristics indicated interference of AV conduction due to a concealed ventricular nodal pathway as the cause of the AV block. The patient's AV nodal and His-Purkinje system conduction characteristics were otherwise normal. Radiofrequency catheter ablation of the pathway was successful in restoring normal AV conduction and eliminating her clinical symptoms.

CONCLUSION: Pathways inserting into the AV junction can interfere with AV conduction. When present at a high burden, this type of AV block can be highly symptomatic. Catheter ablation techniques can be used to alleviate this type of AV block and restore normal AV conduction.

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