Postcardiac injury syndrome caused by radiofrequency catheter ablation of persistent atrial fibrillation: severe pulmonary arterial hypertension with severe tricuspid regurgitation: a rare case report and literature review

BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2023 Apr 13;23(1):192. doi: 10.1186/s12872-023-03202-1.


Background: Postcardiac injury syndrome (PCIS) is an easy-to-miss diagnosis, but it is not an uncommon complication. The phenomenon of echocardiography (ECHO) showing both severe pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and severe tricuspid regurgitation (TR) is indeed rare in PCIS after extensive radiofrequency ablation.

Case presentation: A 70-year-old male was diagnosed with persistent atrial fibrillation. The patient received radiofrequency catheter ablation due to his atrial fibrillation being refractory to antiarrhythmic drugs. After the anatomical three-dimensional models were created, ablations were performed on the left and right pulmonary veins, roof linear and bottom linear of the left atrium, and the cavo-tricuspid isthmus. The patient was discharged in sinus rhythm (SR). After 3 days, he was admitted to the hospital for gradually worsening dyspnea. Laboratory examination showed a normal leukocyte count with an increased percentage of neutrophils. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein concentration, interleukin-6, and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide were elevated. ECG exhibited SR, V1-V4 of precordial lead P-wave amplitude which was increased but not prolonged, PR segment depression, and ST-segment elevation. Computed tomography angiography of the pulmonary artery revealed that the lung had scattered high-density flocculent flakes and a small amount of pleural and pericardial effusion. Local pericardial thickening was seen. ECHO showed severe PAH with severe TR. Diuretics and vasodilators did not relieve the symptoms. Tumors, tuberculosis, and immune system diseases were all excluded. Considering the patient's diagnosis of PCIS, the patient was treated with steroids. The patient recovered on the 19th day post ablation. The patient's condition was maintained until 2 years of follow-up.

Conclusions: The phenomenon of ECHO showing severe PAH with severe TR is indeed rare in PCIS. Due to the lack of diagnostic criteria, such patients are easily misdiagnosed, leading to a poor prognosis.

Keywords: A case report; Literature review; Persistent atrial fibrillation; Postcardiac injury syndrome; Radiofrequency catheter ablation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation*
  • Catheter Ablation* / adverse effects
  • Catheter Ablation* / methods
  • Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Heart Atria
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary* / surgery
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension* / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension* / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tricuspid Valve Insufficiency* / diagnostic imaging
  • Tricuspid Valve Insufficiency* / etiology
  • Tricuspid Valve Insufficiency* / surgery