Conversion of typical to "atypical" atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia after radiofrequency catheter modification of the atrioventricular junction

Jonathan J. Langberg, Yoon Nyun Kim, Rajiva Goyal, William Kou, Hugh Calkins, Joao Sousa, Rafel El-Atassi, Fred Morady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Typical atrioventricular (AV) nodal reentry tachycardia (AVNRT) is characterized by anterograde activation over a slowly conducting pathway and by retrograde activation through a rapidly conducting pathway. Preliminary reports suggest that radiofrequency catheter modification can eliminate typical AVNRT while preserving anterograde conduction. Radiofrequency catheter modification was used to treat 88 patients with typical AVNRT. After baseline electrophysiologic evaluation, the ablation catheter was positioned proximal and superior to the site of maximal His deflection. Radiofrequency energy was applied until there was significant attenuation of retrograde conduction, and elimination of AVNRT inducibility. Eighty-one patients were successfully treated and form the basis of this report. A new paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia with RP > PR interval was induced at electrophysiologic testing after successful ablation in 9 patients (11%). Mean atrial-His activation time was 140 ± 31 ms, and the ventriculoatrial activation time was 170 ± 46 ms. This arrhythmia was induced only with ventricular pacing during isoproterenol infusion and appeared to be mediated by AV nodal reentry. New retrograde dual AV nodal physiology after modification was more frequent in patients with atypical tachycardia than in those without (4 of 9 vs 2 of 72; p < 0.0001). Although none of the patients were treated, only 1 of 9 had an episode of spontaneous atypical tachycardia during a mean follow-up of 12 months. Results of this study confirm that typical AVNRT can be rendered noninducible without the complete destruction of reentrant pathways. Because induction of "atypical" AVNRT was not predictive of spontaneous arrhythmia recurrence, it should not be an indication for additional ablation sessions or long-term drug therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-508
Number of pages6
JournalThe American journal of cardiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 15 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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