Left atrial-esophageal fistula following radiofrequency catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2004 Aug;15(8):960-2. doi: 10.1046/j.1540-8167.2004.04083.x.


This report describes a fatal case of left atrial-esophageal fistula occurring in a 72-year-old man after a radiofrequency catheter ablation of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Catheter ablation was performed around the pulmonary vein using an 8-mm-tip electrode (60 W or 55 degrees C) guided by a 25-mm circular catheter. On day 22 of follow-up, the patient presented with seizures followed by hematemesis due to left atrial-esophageal fistula. His clinical condition deteriorated, and he died of speticemia. Thus, left atrial-esophageal fistula is a sever complication of radiofrequency catheter ablation of the left atrial posterior wall.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation / complications
  • Atrial Fibrillation / surgery*
  • Catheter Ablation / adverse effects*
  • Esophageal Fistula / diagnosis
  • Esophageal Fistula / etiology*
  • Esophageal Fistula / mortality*
  • Heart Atria / pathology*
  • Heart Atria / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Treatment Failure*