Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe our preliminary experience using catheter-based intracardiac echocardiography as an adjunct to biplane fluoroscopy for guiding radiofrequency catheter ablation of atrial arrhythmias in the right side of the heart.
Background: Catheter ablation requires precise positioning and stable ablation electrode-endocardial contact. This procedure is currently guided by an analysis of intracardiac electrograms and fluoroscopy. However, the use of fluoroscopy does not allow the endocardium and certain anatomic landmarks to be identified and is associated with the hazards of radiation exposure.
Methods: Seventeen symptomatic patients were studied. A 10F 10-MHz intracardiac imaging catheter was used to visualize specific anatomic landmarks in the right atrium for directing the ablation electrode in 15 patients undergoing radiofrequency ablation of 19 arrhythmias and to assist with interatrial septal puncture in 3 patients.
Results: Continuous intracardiac imaging was performed for a mean +/- SD of 63.6 +/- 39.2 min and demonstrated distal electrode-endocardial tissue contact in 81 (60%) of 134 radiofrequency applications. Movement of the catheter was demonstrated during 36 (44%), microcavitations during 39 (48%) and thrombus during 15 (19%) of the 81 imaged applications. In 7 of 10 procedures for atrial flutter, successful ablation was directed at anatomic corridors in the right atrium visualized with intracardiac echocardiography. During ablation of atrial tachycardia, imaging identified abnormal atrial anatomy related to previous surgery and guided successful ablation of a reentrant tachycardia circulating around these anatomic obstacles. In two procedures for slow pathway modification of atrioventricular node reentrant tachycardia, intracardiac echocardiography confirmed catheter stability at the tricuspid annulus anterior to the coronary sinus.
Conclusions: During catheter ablation, intracardiac echocardiography augments fluoroscopy by visualizing anatomic landmarks, ensuring stable endocardial contact and assisting in transseptal puncture. Ablation of typical atrial flutter can be successfully directed at anatomic corridors identified using intracardiac imaging.