Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the long-term clinical outcome of patients with ectopic atrial tachycardias treated surgically.
Background: Ectopic atrial tachycardia is an uncommon arrhythmia that can be symptomatic and is associated with the development of a cardiomyopathy. Management strategies are not well defined because of the paucity of data on the long-term effectiveness of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapies.
Methods: The long-term clinical impact of medical and surgical therapy was determined in 15 consecutive patients with ectopic atrial tachycardia. All 15 patients were initially treated with antiarrhythmic drugs (mean 5.7 +/- 2.2 drugs/patient). An effective drug regimen was identified in only 5 (33%) of the 15 patients; the remaining 10 patients were treated surgically. In each, individualized surgical procedures were guided by computer-assisted intraoperative mapping, with atrial plaques comprising up to 156 electrodes. Focal ablation was performed in four patients and atrial isolation procedures in six.
Results: The 10 patients treated surgically were followed up a mean of 4 +/- 3.2 years. Ectopic atrial tachycardia recurred in one patient. A permanent pacemaker was implanted in two patients, one of whom also required reoperation for constrictive pericarditis. There were no operative deaths. Ectopic atrial tachycardia recurred in three (60%) of the five patients discharged on antiarrhythmic drug therapy during a mean follow-up interval of 6.4 +/- 4.3 years. There was one nonarrhythmic death.
Conclusions: Map-guided surgery demonstrated long-term efficacy in abolishing symptoms in 9 of the 10 patients with ectopic atrial tachycardia. Results demonstrate that surgery is effective for patients with ectopic atrial tachycardias who are not easily treated with antiarrhythmic drugs.