Surgery for supraventricular tachycardia

Arch Mal Coeur Vaiss. 1996 Feb;89 Spec No 1:123-7.


1995 is the fifth anniversary of the advent of catheter ablation for the treatment of supraventricular tachycardia. Surgery has established the principles of the interventional approaches: 1) identification of the mechanism; 2) localization of the site of the mechanism; 3) identification of the anatomical arrhythmogenic substrate and its localization using preoperative and intraoperative electrophysiological cardiac mapping; 4) ablation of the arrhythmogenic substrate using "surgical" dissection or excision or various forms of energy to neutralize the substrate: cryoablation, laser, etc. Surgical approaches also established the EP interventions as the first line of therapy because they are curative. Currently, surgery for supraventricular tachycardia is essentially confined to atrial fibrillation, and after attempted catheter ablation for the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Atrial fibrillation is a complex arrhythmia, commonly associated with structural heart disease. To understand atrial fibrillation, a number of premises should be reviewed: atrial functional anatomy, atrial pathology, atrial fibrillation mechanism (s) and clinical presentation. The role of atrial fibrillation in terms of symptoms, morbidity and mortality is not clear because it is difficult to determine if atrial fibrillation is a symptom, a marker, an autonomous disease albeit it is in most cases an aggravating factor. Surgical rationales for atrial fibrillation are based on three concepts: exclusion, fragmentation and channelling. The Corridor operation was the first used direct surgical approach. The Maze operation and other techniques (fragmentation, spiral) have been reported. All surgical techniques have been reported with good results in terms of sinus node function and exercise tolerance, and to various degrees, in terms of atrial contraction. Currently, there is a trend to combine direct atrial fibrillation surgery with surgery for mitral valve albeit beneficial effects are not documented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation / surgery
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Heart Atria / physiopathology
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology
  • Heart Conduction System / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Tachycardia, Atrioventricular Nodal Reentry / surgery
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / physiopathology
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / surgery*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome / surgery