Improved clinical efficacy of external cardioversion by fluoroscopic electrode positioning and comparison to internal cardioversion in patients with atrial fibrillation

Ali A. Mehdirad, Kelley L. Clem, Charles J. Love, Steven D. Nelson, Stephen F. Schaal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Despite using different electrode positions, 'conventional' external DC cardioversion in patients with atrial fibrillation is ineffective in 6%-50% of cases. An alternative when DC cardioversion is not successful is low energy internal cardioversion, which is performed at increased risk. We tested the hypothesis that optimization of electrode pad position under fluoroscopy to encompass as much atrial muscle as possible might improve the success rate of external cardioversion and thus minimize the need for internal cardioversion. Methods: Fifteen (9 males, 6 females)patients (age: 54 ± 15 years, weight: 124 ± 35 kg) with chronic atrial fibrillation (> 8 weeks) who had undergone unsuccessful conventional external cardioversion entered the study. Repeat conventional external cardioversion with electrodes in standard (right anterior and left posterior) positions was followed by 'optimized' external cardioversion by positioning electrodes under fluoroscopy (using metallic markers). In case of failure, internal cardioversion was performed. Results: All 15 patients had undergone unsuccessful conventional external cardioversion with 360-J shocks. Eight patients (group A) reverted to sinus rhythm with one or two 360-J shocks using fluoroscopy guided pad placement (53%). Six of the remaining 7 (86%) patients (group B) had successful internal cardioversion with biphasic shocks (12 ± 3 J). The body weight and body mass index were statistically lower in group A vs group B (106 ± 27 vs 145 ± 33 kg, p = 0.03 and 35 ± 8 vs 45 ± 8 kg/m2, P = 0.48, respectively). There was no statistically significant in age, height, body surface area, duration of atrial fibrillation, amiodarone therapy, ejection fraction, or underlying heart disease. Conclusion: Unsuccessful external DC cardioversion, in some patients, is in part due to suboptimal conventional positioning of electrode pads that can be improved under fluoroscopic guidance by achieving the best possible vector encompassing the right and left atria. The optimized external cardioversion technique may minimize the need for internal cardioversion, which remains an effective approach when external cardioversion fails.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-237
Number of pages5
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Volume22
Issue number1 II
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 11 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • External cardioversion
  • Internal cardioversion
  • Optimized external cardioversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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