The prevalence and risk factors for atrioesophageal fistula after percutaneous radiofrequency catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation: the Canadian experience
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PURPOSE: Atrioesophageal fistula (AEF) is an infrequent complication of radiofrequency (RF) ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF). The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and operator-dependent factors associated with AEF using a nationwide survey of electrophysiologists (EP). METHODS: Thirty-eight EPs performing AF ablation between 2008 and 2012 were invited to complete a web-based questionnaire assessing the prevalence and factors associated with AEF. RESULTS: Responses were obtained from 25 EPs (68 %) accounting for 7,016 AF ablations. Five cases of proven AEF (0.07 %) were reported. Operators who reported AEF [AEF (+)] more often used general anesthesia (GA) [90 % AEF (+) vs. 44 % AEF (-), p = 0.046]. AEF (+) operators were also more likely to be users of the non-brushing technique in the posterior wall of the LA [5 (100 %) AEF (+) vs. 5 (25 %) AEF (-), p = 0.005]. The combined usage of GA and non-brushing technique during LA posterior wall ablation had a strong association with AEF (+) operators [4 (80 %) AEF (+) vs. 2 (10 %) AEF (-), p = 0.002]. There was a trend towards higher maximal RF energy setting in the posterior wall [47.4 + 7.6 AEF (+) vs. 40.2 + 8 AEF (-), p = 0.09]. Other procedure parameters were similar. CONCLUSIONS: The reported prevalence of AEF among Canadian AF ablators is 0.07 %. AEF was associated with high mortality. The use of GA and non-brushing movements during posterior wall ablation were two factors associated with AEF.
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