Cross-Sectional Imaging Obtained Immediately Following Radiofrequency Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Does Not Predict Endoscopic Evidence of Esophageal Injury
ABSTRACT Radiofrequency atrial fibrillation ablation (AFA) is commonly performed in patients with atrial fibrillation. It is imperative to develop a strategy for the early detection of esophageal lesions secondary to AFA. The current protocol is to obtain cross-sectional imaging before and immediately after the procedure. If patients have evidence of esophageal inflammation, they undergo esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). We hypothesized that esophageal abnormalities seen on imaging immediately post-ablation are a poor predictor of the damage seen during EGD.
Patients referred for EGD following AFA from 1/2009 to 11/2010 were included. Two endoscopists reviewed and scored the EGD images. Two radiologists reviewed the post-AFA imaging studies. For computed tomography (CT) scans, esophageal inflammation was scored from 0 to 2. For T2 and delayed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) pictures, esophageal enhancement was scored from 0 to 2, with the circumference involved as 0, <50%, or >50%, and the length of esophageal enhancement in mm.
In total, 76 patients were included; 22 patients had only endoscopic images and 54 had both endoscopic and radiologic images for review. Of the post-AFA imaging studies, 16 were CTs and 60 were MRIs. The kappa score for the inter-rater agreement of esophageal inflammation on EGD was 0.4584 (moderate). For MRIs, the kappa scores for T2 images were 0.1980 and 0.2857 for edema and circumference, respectively. For delayed images, the kappa scores were 0.2687 and 0.3101 for edema and circumference, respectively. The kappa scores were negative between EGD score by T2 edema (-0.2104) and circumference (-0.2212), and between EGD score and delayed edema (-0.0588) and circumference (-0.0446). When measures were treated as dichotomous, the overall agreement between CT measures and EGD scores was kappa = 0, for T2 measures and EGD kappa = -0.2963, 95% confidence interval (CI) (-0.5643, -0.0282), and between delayed measures kappa = -0.0244, 95% CI (-0.1420, -0.0932).
There was no agreement between immediate imaging and the endoscopic findings of esophageal inflammation after AFA. A longer period of time between AFA and obtaining an imaging study may be useful in detecting patients with significant esophageal injury who should undergo EGD to assess for complications of AFA. Further studies are needed in order to determine the best modalities and optimal timing to detect post-AFA esophageal damage in an attempt to prevent the formation of atrial-esophageal fistulas.
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ABSTRACT: There are limited data on the prevalence of atrioesophageal fistula (AEF) after left atrial radiofrequency catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF). The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and factors associated with AEF using a nationwide anonymous survey. The information solicited included the practice setting, number of left atrial ablations performed for AF, prevalence of AEF, clinical presentation and outcome of these patients, ablation strategy, type of ablation catheter, and energy settings used to deliver radiofrequency energy. The survey was mailed to 1,874 members of the Heart Rhythm Society within the US and 585 physicians responded (31%). AEF was reported in six of the 20,425 patients who underwent a left atrial ablation procedure (0.03%). All six patients suffered from major cerebrovascular events. Five of the six patients died (83%). The patient who survived had residual hemiparesis. There was no association between the risk of AEF and the case volume. In five patients, wide area circumferential ablation was performed. In the remaining patient, pulmonary vein isolation by ostial ablation was employed. In all cases an 8-mm tip ablation catheter was used. The power in patients who did and did not develop AEF were 58 +/- 13 and 41 +/- 9 W, respectively (P = 0.03). In one patient AEF occurred despite <1 degrees C rise recorded from an esophageal temperature probe. In the remaining patients no specific method was used to visualize the location of the esophagus. Based on the responses to the survey, the risk of AEF appears to be <1%. However, AEF is associated major cerebrovascular events and leads to death in >80% of the patients.Journal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology 10/2008; 24(1):33-6. DOI:10.1007/s10840-008-9307-1 · 1.55 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Radiofrequency catheter ablation in patients with left atrial arrhythmias may cause esophageal damage because of the close proximity between the posterior wall of the left atrium and the esophagus. The aim of this prospective study was to determine the incidence, endoscopic characterization, and endoluminal temperature dependency of esophageal thermal lesions after catheter ablation. In all, 185 consecutive patients with symptomatic atrial fibrillation or left atrial macro-re-entrant tachycardia who underwent left atrial radiofrequency catheter ablation were scheduled for upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. During the ablation procedure, a non-fluoroscopic three-dimensional system for catheter orientation, computed tomography (CT) image integration, and activation mapping was used. The esophagus was intubated with a temperature probe for visualization within the three-dimensional image and for real-time intraluminal temperature monitoring. A total of 27 (14.6%) asymptomatic ulcer-like or hemorrhagic esophageal thermal lesions with a diameter of 2-16 mm were observed. Esophageal lesions did not occur below an intraluminal esophageal temperature of 41 degrees C. The maximal temperature in the esophagus was significantly higher in patients with thermal lesions than in patients without lesions (42.6+/-1.7 degrees C vs. 41.4+/-1.7 degrees C, P=0.003). For every 1 degrees C increase in endoluminal temperature, the odds of an esophageal lesion increased by a factor of 1.36 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07-1.74, P=0.012). No progression of the lesions was observed during follow-up endoscopies. Localized esophageal ulcer-like lesion is a frequent event after left atrial catheter ablation and can be found in patients whose intraluminal temperature has reached at least 41 degrees C.The American Journal of Gastroenterology 11/2009; 105(3):551-6. DOI:10.1038/ajg.2009.625 · 9.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Pulmonary vein (PV) isolation by catheter ablation is an increasingly used strategy to treat atrial fibrillation (AF). Complication rates from AF ablation reported in different case series vary widely. We conducted a retrospective analysis of 641 consecutive ablation procedures to assess complication rates, temporal trends, and clinical predictors of adverse outcomes. All patients (n = 517) undergoing catheter ablation for AF at Johns Hopkins Hospital between February, 2001 and June, 2007 were prospectively enrolled in a database. Data from 641 consecutive procedures were analyzed and complications considered if they occurred within 30 days of ablation. Major complications were defined as those that required intervention, resulted in long-term disability, or prolonged hospitalization. Thirty-two major complications occurred in 641 procedures (5%). Among the patients with major complications, seven had cerebrovascular accident (CVA), eight had tamponade, one had PV occlusion with hemoptysis, and 11 had vascular injury requiring surgical repair and/or transfusion. No periprocedural deaths occurred, and no instances of esophageal injury were seen. Complication rates were higher during the first 100 cases (9.0%) than during the subsequent 541 (4.3%). Major adverse clinical events were associated with age > 70 years (P = 0.007; odds ratio 3.7, 95% confidence interval 1.4-9.6) and female gender (P = 0.014; odds ratio 3.0, 95% confidence interval 1.3-7.2). No other clinical or procedural predictors of complication were identified. Complication rates from AF ablation remain significant, despite improved techniques and increased awareness of procedural risks. Both advanced age and female gender predict major adverse events, suggesting careful consideration of the risk/benefit profile in these patients prior to ablation.Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology 06/2008; 19(6):627-31. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-8167.2008.01181.x · 2.88 Impact Factor