Temperature monitoring during radiofrequency catheter ablation of accessory pathways

Jonathan J. Langberg, Hugh Calkins, Rafel El-Atassi, Mark Borganelli, Angel Leon, Steven J. Kalbfleisch, Fred Morady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


Background. Animal studies have suggested that the temperature of the electrode-tissue interface during radiofrequency catheter ablation accurately predicts lesion size. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the utility of continuous temperature monitoring during radiofrequency catheter ablation in patients with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Methods and Results. Twenty patients with manifest preexcitation were included in the study. The ablation catheter was positioned on the ventricular side of the mitral annulus for left-sided accessory pathways and on the atrial side of the tricuspid annulus for right-sided and septal accessory pathways. A thermistor imbedded in the distal electrode of the ablation catheter allowed continuous temperature monitoring during each energy application. To define the relation between power and temperature, radiofrequency current was applied several times at each site using outputs of 20, 30, 40, and 50 W. The accessory pathways were successfully ablated in each of the 20 patients. Because of marked variability in the efficiency of heating between sites, power output did not predict temperature. However, at any given site, there was a positive dose-response relation between power and temperature. Radiofrequency energy applications on the atrial side of the tricuspid annulus produced lower temperatures than did applications on the ventricular side of the mitral annulus (49±7 versus 60±16°C, p=0.0001). Transient block in the accessory pathways occurred at a mean of 50±8°C, whereas permanent block was seen at a mean of 62±15°C (p=0.0001). Less than half of the applications at outputs ≤40 W produced temperatures adequate to interrupt accessory pathway conduction. An abrupt rise in impedance caused by coagulum formation occurred only at temperatures between 95 and 100°C. Conclusions. Temperature monitoring may facilitate radiofrequency catheter ablation of accessory pathways. By adjusting power output to ensure that adequate but not excessive temperatures have been achieved, a rise in impedance can be avoided and the total number of energy applications and procedure duration may be reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1469-1474
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Tachycardia, supraventricular
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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