Objectives: The purpose of this study was to differentiate non-re-entrant junctional tachycardia (JT) and typical atrioventricular node re-entry tachycardia (AVNRT).
Background: JT may mimic AVNRT. Ablation of JT is associated with a lower success rate and a higher incidence of heart block. Electrophysiologic differentiation of these tachycardias is often difficult.
Methods: We hypothesized that JT can be distinguished from AVNRT based on specific responses to premature atrial complexes (PACs) delivered at different phases of the tachycardia cycle: when a PAC is timed to His refractoriness, any perturbation of the subsequent His indicates that anterograde slow pathway conduction is involved and confirms a diagnosis of AVNRT. A PAC that advances the His potential immediately after it without terminating tachycardia indicates that retrograde fast pathway is not essential for the circuit and confirms a diagnosis of JT. This protocol was tested in 39 patients with 44 tachycardias suggesting either JT or AVNRT based on a short ventriculo-atrial interval and apparent AV node dependence. Tachycardias were divided into 3 groups: clinically obvious AVNRT, clinically obvious JT, and clinically indeterminate rhythm.
Results: In the 26 cases of clinically obvious AVNRT, the sensitivity and specificity of the test were 61% and 100%, respectively. In the 9 cases of clinically obvious JT, the sensitivity and specificity were 100% and 100%, respectively. In the 9 cases of clinically indeterminate rhythm, the technique indicated AVNRT in 1 patient and JT in 7 patients, and the test was indeterminate in 1 patient.
Conclusions: The response to PACs during tachycardia can distinguish JT and AVNRT with 100% specificity in adult patients.