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Atrioventricular block occurring several months after radiofrequency ablation for the treatment of atrioventricular nodal re-entrant tachycardia


Atrioventricular (AV) block following radiofrequency (RF) ablation for the treatment of AV nodal re-entrant tachycardia (AVNRT) is a rare but well recognised complication of the procedure—the reported incidence ranges from 1% to 21%. Almost all cases of AV block occur during or shortly after the procedure, are transient, and recover quickly. Two patients (a 22 year man and a 72 year old woman) with symptomatic AV block occurring several months after slow pathway RF ablation, requiring permanent pacemaker implantation, are described. Both patients had had several 24 hour Holter recordings before the procedure, and in neither case was there any evidence of intermittent or persistent AV block. This is a rare complication with no definitive predictors; however, all efforts should be made to exclude AV block in patients presenting with suggestive symptoms following RF ablation. With the wide use of RF ablation for the treatment of AVNRT, more cases are likely to occur. A registry should allow documentation of the incidence of this complication.

  • atrioventricular nodal re-entrant tachycardia
  • radiofrequency ablation
  • atrioventricular block
  • pacing

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