Introduction: A multicenter prospective study was designed and implemented to assess the short- and longer-term results and risks associated with radiofrequency (RF) ablation in children.
Methods and results: Patients recruited for the study were aged 0 to 16 years with supraventricular tachycardia due to accessory pathways or AV nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT), excluding patients with nontrivial congenital heart disease. A national registry also was established, and contributing centers were encouraged to enroll all pediatric patients, aged 0 to 21 years, undergoing ablation at their center. This report summarizes acute results of these procedures. For analysis, subjects were divided into three groups: the prospective cohort (n = 481), cohort-eligible registry participants (n = 504), and not cohort eligible registry participants (n = 1,776). Prospectively enrolled cohort patients were similar to cohort-eligible patients in terms of demographic and other patient characteristics. Overall success rates for RF ablation were high (95.7%), with higher success rates for left-sided and particularly left free-wall pathways (97.8%) than right free-wall pathways (90.8%). Complications of both electrophysiologic study and RF ablation were infrequent (4.2% and 4.0%, respectively), and there were no deaths. AV block was uncommon overall (1.2%) and was limited to ablation in AVNRT (2.1%) and septal accessory pathways (3.0%).
Conclusion: Despite the multicenter and prospective design, the study demonstrates high success rates and low complication rates, which are comparable to prior single-center retrospective studies. These results may serve as the current best benchmark for expected results in the pediatric population, aged 0 to 16 years, both in terms of acute success rates and the occurrence of complications.