Radiofrequency catheter ablation of the atrioventricular junction from the left ventricle

Joäo Sousa, Rafel El-Atassi, Shimon Rosenheck, Hugh Calkins, Jonathan Langberg, Fred Morady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Background. The purpose of this study was to describe a new technique for catheter ablation of the atrioventricular junction using radiofrequency energy delivered in the left ventricle. Methods and Results. Catheter ablation of the atrioventricular (AV) junction using a catheter positioned across the tricuspid annulus was unsuccessful in eight patients with a mean±SD age of 51±19 years who had AV nodal reentry tachycardia (three patients), orthodromic tachycardia using a concealed midseptal accessory pathway, atrial tachycardia, atrial flutter (two patients), or atrial fibrillation. Before attempts at catheter ablation of the AV junction, each patient had been refractory to pharmacological therapy, and four had failed attempts at either catheter modification of the AV node using radiofrequency energy or surgical and catheter ablation of the accessory pathway. Conventional right-sided catheter ablation of the AV junction using radiofrequency energy in six patients and both radiofrequency energy and direct current shocks in two patients was ineffective. The mean amplitude of the His bundle potential recorded at the tricuspid annulus at the sites of unsuccessful AV junction ablation was 0.1±0.08 mV, with a maximum His amplitude of 0.03-0.28 mV. A 7F deflectable-tip quadripolar electrode catheter with a 4-mm distal electrode was positioned against the upper left ventricular septum using a retrograde aortic approach from the femoral artery. Third-degree AV block was induced in each of the eight patients with 20-36 W applied for 15-30 seconds. The His bundle potential at the sites of successful AV junction ablation ranged from 0.06 to 0.99 mV, with a mean of 0.27±0.32 mV. There was no rise in the creatine kinase-MB fraction and no complications occurred. An intrinsic escape rhythm of 30-60 beats/min was present in seven of the eight patients. Each patient received a permanent pacemaker and has been asymptomatic during 3-13 months of follow-up. Conclusions. Catheter ablation of the AV junction can be achieved effectively and safely using radiofrequency energy delivered in the left ventricle when the conventional right-sided approach is unsuccessful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-571
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrioventricular block
  • Brief Rapid Communication
  • Catheter ablation
  • Radiofrequency energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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