Background: Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia (PSVT) is a common condition which until recently has been treated with anti-arrhythmic drugs or surgery. Radiofrequency (RF) catheter ablation is a new mode of treatment which provides a cure of this condition.
Aims: To present our early experience of RF catheter ablation for PSVT.
Methods: One hundred and thirty-five procedures were performed in 117 patients. The diagnostic study and therapeutic catheter ablation were performed as a combined electrophysiological procedure in 74 patients (63%). In 58 patients (50%), PSVT was due to Atrio-ventricular junctional (nodal) re-entrant tachycardia (AVJRT). Twenty-five of the 58 patients underwent a fast pathway ablation while 33 had ablation of their slow pathway. The mean number of radiofrequency pulses delivered was ten for a mean duration of 25 seconds. Radiofrequency ablation of accessory pathways was attempted in 58 patients; pathways were left-sided in 29 patients, postero-septal in 21, midseptal in five, Mahaim connection in two, antero-septal in one and right free wall in one patient. One patient with incessant automatic atrial tachycardia also underwent a successful RF ablation.
Results: Using RF ablation cure of PSVT was achieved in 90% of patients. Cure of AVJRT was achieved in 95% (55/58) of patients using either fast or slow pathway ablation. Only one patient required permanent pacemaker implantation for Mobitz type I AV block following fast pathway ablation. The overall success rate for ablation of accessory pathways was 85%. There is an operator learning curve for this procedure suggested by the fact that the success rate for accessory pathway ablation at first attempt was 63% in the first 29 patients and 93% in the remaining 29. There was no significant morbidity or mortality during or after the procedure. In a mean follow-up of nine months in the patients with successful ablation only two patients with AVJRT had a recurrence of documented PSVT. Both these patients had successful repeat RF ablation. Catheter ablation using radiofrequency energy is an effective and safe therapeutic option for patients with symptomatic PSVT.