Symptomatic arrhythmias after catheter ablation of atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT): results from the German Ablation Registry.
Summary: This study assessed the incidence of symptomatic arrhythmias (abnormal or irregular heartbeats) after catheter ablation (procedure to scar or destroy tissue in your heart that's allowing incorrect electrical signals to cause an abnormal heart rhythm) of atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (a type of abnormal fast heart rhythm; AVNRT).
Conclusion: Atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia ablation (a type of abnormal fast heart rhythm) is associated with an increase of serious adverse events. A subset of patients required medical or interventional antiarrhythmic therapy, possibly attributable to the co-existence of other arrhythmias (abnormal or irregular heartbeats). Screening for arrhythmias before and after ablation may support comprehensive therapy planning and outcome.
Background: In atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT), catheter ablation is considered as first-line therapy. Despite high success rates, some patients present with arrhythmia recurrence or develop other types of arrhythmias over time.
Objective: To assess the incidence of symptomatic arrhythmias after initially successful AVNRT ablation and to analyze their clinical implications in a real-world cohort.
Methods: We included 2,795 patients from the German Ablation Registry undergoing first ablation of AVNRT between 01/2007 and 01/2010. In patients alive at long-term follow-up, patient-specific characteristics and long-term follow-up data were compared between patients with (group A) and without (group B) any symptomatic arrhythmia during follow-up.
Results: Symptomatic arrhythmias occurred in 17.2% of patients during a mean follow-up of 678 days after AVNRT ablation. The patients with symptomatic arrhythmias were more often female and suffered from structural heart disease. Arrhythmia occurrence was clinically relevant regarding symptoms and patient satisfaction. Serious adverse events including stroke, transient ischemic attack, pacemaker implantation, as well as continued use of antiarrhythmic medication occurred more often in group A. A second ablation procedure was performed in 26% of symptomatic patients to optimize the symptomatic outcome, whereas cardiovascular events or patient satisfaction were not further improved.
Conclusions: During long-term follow-up, one out of six patients experienced symptomatic arrhythmias after AVNRT ablation, associated with an increase of serious adverse events. A subset of patients required medical or interventional antiarrhythmic therapy, possibly attributable to the co-existence of other arrhythmias. Screening for arrhythmic and cardiac co-morbidity before and after ablation may support comprehensive therapy planning and outcome.