Ablation of the atrioventricular junction with radiofrequency energy using a new electrode catheter

Jonathan J. Langberg, Michael Chin, David J. Schamp, Michael A. Lee, Jeffrey Goldberger, David N. Pederson, Michael Oeff, Michael D. Lesh, Jerry C. Griffin, Melvin M. Scheinman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Percutaneous catheter ablation using radiofrequency energy can be used to interrupt atrioventricular (AV) conduction in patients with supraventricular tachycardia refractory to drugs. Results of radiofrequency ablation of the AV junction using a custom-designed catheter with a large, 3-mm-long distal electrode, 2-mm interelectrode spacing, and a shaft with increased torsional rigidity were compared with those using a standard quadripolar electrode catheter (Bard EP). An electrocoagulator (Microvasive Bicap 4005) supplied unmodulated radiofrequency current at 550 kHz, which was applied between the distal electrode of the ablation catheter and a large skin electrode. With use of the modified catheter, 12 of 13 patients (92%) had persistent complete AV block induced with 7 ± 5 applications of 18 ± 6 W of radiofrequency power. In contrast, complete AV block was produced in only 9 of 18 (50%) historical control patients treated with the standard catheter, despite a similar number of applications (7 ± 5) and power output (16 ± 4 W). A rise in impedance, due to desiccation of tissue and coagulum formation, occurred earlier (28 ± 18 vs 52 ± 24 seconds, p < 0.001) and more frequently (54 vs 40% of applications, p = 0.047) in patients treated with the standard catheter than in patients treated with the modified catheter. The use of a catheter designed to increase the surface area of electrode-tissue contact allows more radiofrequency energy to be delivered before a rise in impedance occurs and appears to increase the effectiveness of radiofrequency ablation of the AV junction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-147
Number of pages6
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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