Familial Occurrence of Atrioventricular Nodal Reentrant Tachycardia

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Atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT) is considered a sporadic disease occurring in ≈22.5 cases per 10 000 in the general population. We define the prevalence and characteristics of familial AVNRT among patients who underwent radiofrequency ablation.

Methods and Results—

Ablation reports of all patients with familial AVNRT (at least 2 first-degree family members) who underwent radiofrequency ablation in our institution and in another hospital were reviewed. There were 1587 patients from our institution, of whom 20 had ≥1 first-degree relatives with AVNRT. This indicates a familial AVNRT prevalence of 127 cases per 10 000 (95% confidence interval, 82–196/10 000). First-degree relatives of patients with AVNRT presented a hazard ratio of at least 3.6 for exhibiting AVNRT compared with the general population. After inclusion of 4 families with familial AVNRT who underwent ablation at another hospital our population study comprised a total of 24 families (50 patients) with AVNRT. Patients at ablation were younger in the familial AVNRT group when compared with the sporadic AVNRT group (44.2±19 versus 54.8±18 years old, P=0.0001). The male/female ratio was similar, with female predominance. The supraventricular tachycardia mechanism was typical slow/fast reentry in most cases in both groups. The most common familial relationship in our 24 families included a parent and a child in 67% of cases and less often 2 siblings (29%).


Familial AVNRT prevalence is higher than previously believed suggesting that this arrhythmia may have a genetic component. Autosomal dominance with incomplete penetrance is the most likely mode of inheritance.

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