Catheter ablation using direct current (DC) shock has proved invaluable in the management of a variety of tachycardias. However, sporadic reports of fatal arrhythmias following ablation have raised the question of the proarrhythmic potential of DC shock ablation. The present study was undertaken in 45 patients to assess prospectively any proarrhythmia related to DC shock ablation, using matched pre‐ and postablation Holter monitors and programmed electrical stimulation (PES). Nineteen of these patients had Holter monitors for three successive postablation days to observe trends. There was unmatched data in 11 additional patients. All 56 patients provided prospective follow‐up for clinical events. There was no immediate sustained VT/VF at the time of the ablation. Four patients had sustained VT in the first 72 hours after ablation; three episodes were similar to the preablation clinical arrhythmias; one patient had torsades de pointes interrupting bradycardia. Twelve patients met Holter, PES, or clinical criteria for proarrhythmia; none were treated on the basis of these findings. On Holter monitoring, there were significant increases in VPCs/hour and couplets/hour in patients undergoing atrial or atrioventricular juncfional ablations; and an increase in couplets after accessory pathway ablations. Increases in these categories were not significant for VT patients; nor were increases in episodes of VT/hour or atrial arrhythmias significant in any group. Patients were followed for 44 ± 33 months, with an actuarial survival of 95% at 1 year, 88% at 3 years, and 85% at 4 years. There were six deaths during follow‐up. Two patients had sudden death; one at 2 months had early evidence of proarrhythmia; the other at 32 months may have represented later myocardia deterioration. One patient died of heart failure at 77 months; and there were three noncardiac deaths. DC shock ablation in humans is much less proarrhythmic than in dogs. The low incidence of clinical proarrhythmic events during prolonged follow‐up after discharge resulted in low sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive values for Holter and PES, although the negative predictive values of these tests were > 90%. Only one of 12 patients who met criteria for proarrhythmia in the days immediately following ablation had subsequent clinical events consistent with proarrhythmia. These results may be useful as standards for comparison with results of radiofrequency or other ablation modalities.
|Number of pages
|Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
|Published - Dec 1991
- DC shock ablation
- catheter ablation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine