Background: Radiofrequency (RF) catheter ablation is highly effective with a low complication rate. However, lesions created by RF energy are irreversible, inhomogeneous, and therefore potentially proarrhythmic.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the magnitude and importance of long-term proarrhythmic effects of RF energy.
Methods and Results: Between 1991 and 1995, 120 patients underwent RF ablation for atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT). Patient data were collected by contacting patients and/or filling out a questionnaire, and medical files were screened for recurrent, documented arrhythmias, pharmacological treatment, and repeated EP study. Referring cardiologists were asked about recurrences of tachyarrhythmias. Fourteen patients (11%) were lost to follow-up. During a mean follow-up of 10 years, six patients died. Recurrences of AVNRT were not any more observed after 3 years after ablation. A total of 29 patients (24%) suffered from new arrhythmias, 6 from type 1 atrial flutter, 6 from atrial tachycardia, 9 from atrial fibrillation, and finally 16 from symptomatic premature atrial contractions (PACs), needing medical treatment or a combination of these arrhythmias. Nine patients underwent pacemaker implantation, 4 after developing procedural atrioventricular (AV) conduction disturbances, 2 after His ablation for permanent atrial fibrillation, 1 patient for sick sinus syndrome, and another 2 patients after developing late AV block, respectively, 7 and 9 years after ablation.
Conclusion: During long-term follow-up after RF ablation for AVNRT, no AVNRT recurrences were observed, but 29 patients (24%) suffered from new arrhythmias or lateAVblock. This potential proarrhythmic effect of RF energy promotes the application of alternative energy sources for ablative therapies for cardiac arrhythmias. (PACE 2005; 28:1302–1309)

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Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Department of Cardiology

Kimman, G-J.P, Bogaard, M.D, van Hemel, N.M, van Pascal, P.F.H.M, Jessurun, E, Boersma, L, … Jordaens, L.J.L.M. (2005). Ten year follow-up after radiofrequency catheter ablation for atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia in the early days forever cured, or a source for new arrhythmias?. Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 28(12), 1302–1309. doi:10.1111/j.1540-8159.2005.00271.x