OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the indications, results and complications of radiofrequency catheter ablation in small infants with supraventricular tachycardia due to an accessory atrioventricular pathway. METHODS: Five infants less than 9 months old underwent radiofrequency catheter ablation of accessory pathways. Ablation was done for medically refractory tachyarrhythmia associated with aborted sudden death in two patients, left ventricular dysfunction in one, failure of antiarrhythmic drugs in one, and planned cardiac surgery in one. All five patients underwent a single successful procedure. Three left free wall pathways were ablated by transseptal approach, a right posteroseptal pathway was ablated from the inferior vena cava, and a left posteroseptal pathway was approached from the inferior vena cava into the coronary sinus. A deflectable 5F bipolar electrode catheter with a 3 mm tip was used. RESULTS: A sudden increment in impedance indicative of coagulum formation was observed in two procedures. One patient developed a transient ischaemic complication after ablation of a left lateral accessory pathway by transseptal approach. This patient had mild pericardial effusion after the procedure. Moderate pericardial effusion was also noted in another patient. After a mean follow up of 18.4 months all patients are symptom free without treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Radiofrequency catheter ablation can be performed successfully in infants. Temperature monitoring in 5F ablation catheters would be desirable to prevent the development of coagulum. Echocardiography must be performed after the ablation procedure to investigate pericardial effusion.
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