Background: Intraatrial reentrant tachycardia (IART) is a common problem in patients with congenital heart disease (CHD). The progression of clinical symptoms of IART and their response to radiofrequency (RF) ablation are not yet well described.
Objectives: The objective of the study was to determine the early and midterm success rates of RF ablation in effecting a reduction of clinical arrhythmic events in patients with IART and CHD.
Methods: Clinical records of patients undergoing early, successful RF ablation were analyzed retrospectively to document the occurrence and frequency of documented IART, cardioversion and arrhythmia-related hospital visits before and after ablation.
Results: Fifty-five catheterizations for intended RF ablation of IART were performed in 45 patients (mean [+/-SD] age 24.5 +/- 10.5 years, 40 after surgical palliation of CHD). Early success was achieved for one or more IART circuits in 33 patients (73%). Mean clinical follow-up of those patients with successful ablation is 17.4 +/- 11.3 months (total 574 patient-months). Documented IART recurrence was noted after 21 (53%) of 40 early, successful catheterizations in 17 (52%) of 33 patients, with a mean time to recurrence of 4.1 months, often with electrocardiographically novel configurations. A more prolonged and frequent history of IART was a univariate risk factor for recurrence. Seven patients underwent repeat RF ablations, and eight patients were restarted on antiarrhythmic medications after ablation. Two patients who had severe ventricular dysfunction before RF ablation died 1.5 and 11 months after RF ablation without known arrhythmia recurrence. Clinical events related to IART increased steadily in frequency for 24 months before RF ablation. Radiofrequency ablation resulted in a reduction of event frequency to levels significantly lower than those in the 12-month period before RF ablation and not significantly different from those levels observed at baseline 3 to 4 years before RF ablation.
Conclusions: In patients with successful RF ablation, the frequency of subsequent events was reduced compared with the 2 preceding years. However, recurrence of IART in patients who showed clinical improvement was frequent, and often revealed the presence of new IART configurations.