Transseptal puncture from the jugular vein and balloon cryoablation for atrial fibrillation in a patient with azygos continuation of an interrupted inferior vena cava

Europace. 2015 Jul;17(7):1153-6. doi: 10.1093/europace/euu413. Epub 2015 Mar 6.


Aims: Inferior vena cava (IVC) interruption is a rare anatomic variant where the azygos vein (AV) drains the blood from the IVC to the upper part of the right atrium via the superior vena cava. Here, we report balloon cryoablation of the pulmonary veins (PVs) via superior access in a patient with atrial fibrillation.

Methods and results: After the first failed ablation attempt due to IVC interruption, balloon cryoablation with a 28-mm Arctic Front Advance cryoballoon (Medtronic CryoCath LP, Quebec, Canada) via superior access was performed; it requires only a single transseptal puncture (TP), and the patient had optimal PV anatomy. Deflectable electrodes were inserted into the right ventricle and coronary sinus from the right femoral vein. The right internal jugular vein was accessed using an SL0 transseptal sheath and BRK needle. The TP was performed under transoesophageal echocardiographic guidance with a Safe Sept wire because the septum was stiff. All PVs were engaged: the left using an ablation catheter before balloon insertion and the inferior following a 'push-up' technique because of a leak above the veins. Cryothermal energy was delivered after checking for occlusion. The procedure lasted 210 min, fluoroscopy time was 78 min, and air-kerma dose was 194 mGy. During the 6-month follow-up, no episodes of atrial fibrillation were detected on several Holter recordings.

Conclusions: Successful PV isolation in patients with AV continuation of an interrupted IVC can be safely performed using superior access with balloon cryoablation, after several modifications of standard equipment.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Azygos vein; Balloon cryoablation; Transseptal puncture.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation / surgery*
  • Azygos Vein / abnormalities*
  • Azygos Vein / surgery
  • Cardiac Catheterization / methods
  • Cryosurgery / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart Conduction System / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Veins / surgery*
  • Punctures / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / abnormalities*
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / surgery