Aims: Fluoroscopy does not allow identification specific anatomical landmarks during electrophysiological studies. Intra-cardiac echocardiography permits visualization of these structures with excellent accuracy, but the optimal method has not been fully described. The aim of this study was to assess the capability of intra-cardiac echocardiography for the visualization of such structures using two different approaches. We also assessed its capability for the evaluation of radio frequency lesions 20 min after catheter ablation of the cavo-tricuspid isthmus.
Methods: Intra-cardiac echocardiography was performed using a 9 MHz rotating transducer in eight consecutive patients (age range: 37-76 years) after radio frequency ablation of the cavo-tricuspid isthmus. The ultrasound catheter was inserted through the femoral vein into the superior vena cava and was pulled back to the inferior vena cava. The echo catheter was then reinserted through the subclavian vein and advanced into the right ventricular apex and was pulled back from the right ventricular to the superior vena cava. Qualitative evaluation and intra-cardiac measurements were performed off-line.
Results: The fossa ovalis, the tricuspid valve, and the terminal crest were visible in all patients regardless of the method of introduction of the echo catheter. Left-sided structures were less accurately seen by intra-cardiac echocardiography. The horizontal diameter of the fossa ovalis was 8.9+/-1.8mm. The cavo-tricuspid isthmus was visible using the femoral approach in three patients. The isthmus could be visualized in all patients, and in three patients together with the ostium of the coronary sinus, using the subclavian approach. radio frequency lesions were not visible 20 min after ablation. Additionally, both the left and right ventricles could be seen using the subclavian approach.
Conclusions: The subclavian approach is feasible, safe and superior to visualize the isthmus. Twenty minutes after radio frequency ablation of the cavo-tricuspid isthmus radio frequency lesions are not visible using intra-cardiac echocardiography.