Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the outcome of a group of closely followed-up pediatric patients who had undergone radiofrequency ablation for cardiac arrhythmias.
Background: Although radiofrequency ablation in children has been shown to be effective and safe in the short term, results of longer term follow-up of these children must be considered when determining the place of radiofrequency ablation in the management of pediatric arrhythmias.
Methods: One hundred children aged 2 months to 17 years underwent a total of 119 radiofrequency ablation procedures for cure of tachycardia. Follow-up clinical data, electrocardiograms and 24-h Holter monitors were obtained and analyzed.
Results: All patients were alive, and none were lost to follow-up after a mean follow-up of 21.5 months (range 6 to 50). Success at last follow-up included accessory pathways in 66 (89%) of 74 patients, atrioventricular (AV) node reentry in 15 (88%) of 17, intraatrial reentry in 2 (67%) of 3, atrial flutter in 3 (100%) of 3, atrial ectopic tachycardia in 2 (67%) of 3, junctional ectopic tachycardia in 1 (100%) of 1 and ventricular tachycardia in 2 (100%) of 2 (overall success, 90 [90%] of 100). All recurrences were observed within 6 months of ablation. Major and minor complications (7%) included chest burn (one patient), foot microembolus (two patients), hematoma without pulse loss (four patients), femoral arteriovenous fistula requiring repair (one patient) and transient Mobitz I AV block (one patient). Immediate success, recurrence and complication rates were similar in the > or = 12-year old versus the < 12-year old group. Echocardiograms, available in 109 (92%) of 119 patients, showed possible procedure-related abnormalities in 2 (mitral regurgitation in 1, tricuspid regurgitation in 1, both mild), with no aortic insufficiency after 30 left-sided ablations performed by the retrograde approach. Follow-up Holter monitors, available in 77 (77%) of 100 patients, showed possible procedure-related abnormalities in 5 (frequent atrial ectopic tachycardia in 2, atrial flutter in 1, accelerated ventricular rhythm in 2). There were no early or late deaths.
Conclusions: In children, the risks of radiofrequency ablation are low at follow-up evaluation. Longer-term follow-up of children undergoing radiofrequency ablation will be necessary to determine whether coronary abnormalities or serious new arrhythmias will develop.