Complications of diagnostic electrophysiologic studies and radiofrequency catheter ablation in patients with tachyarrhythmias: an eight-year survey of 3,966 consecutive procedures in a tertiary referral center

Am J Cardiol. 1996 Jan 1;77(1):41-6. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(97)89132-1.


Predictors and comparisons of complications in patients with electrophysiologic study or radiofrequency ablation have not been assessed in previous published reports. The purpose of this study was to prospectively evaluate the procedure-specific complications and investigate the possible causes and predictors of complications in electrophysiologic study and radiofrequency ablation. Data of diagnostic electrophysiologic studies and radiofrequency ablation were prospective, and represented a consecutive series of 2,593 patients with 3,966 procedures. The present study showed that a significantly higher complication rate occurred in radiofrequency ablation than in electrophysiologic study (3.1% vs. 1.1%, respectively, p = 0.00002) and a significantly higher complication rate occurred in elderly than in young patients with electrophysiologic study (2.2% vs 0.5%, p = 0.0002) or radiofrequency ablation (6.1% vs 2.0%, p = 0.00015). Multiple logistic analysis found that older age (p < 0.01) and systemic disease in elderly patients (p < 0.01) were the independent predictors of complications in both procedures. Furthermore, there was no temporal trend in the incidence of complication. We conclude that the incidence of complication was higher in radiofrequency ablation, and elderly patients had a higher incidence of complications in both electrophysiologic study and radiofrequency ablation; these procedures, when performed by experienced personnel in an appropriately staffed and equipped laboratory, can be undertaken with an acceptable risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catheter Ablation / adverse effects*
  • Electrodiagnosis / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Risk Factors
  • Tachycardia / diagnosis*
  • Tachycardia / therapy*