Targets and End Points in Cardiac Autonomic Denervation Procedures

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Autonomic denervation is an alternative approach for patients with symptomatic bradycardia. No consensus exists on the critical targets and end points of the procedure. The aim of this study was to identify immediate end points and critical atrial regions responsible for vagal denervation.

Methods and Results—

We enrolled 14 patients (50% men; age: 34.0±13.8 years) with cardioinhibitory syncope, advanced atrioventricular block or sinus arrest, and no structural heart disease. Anatomic mapping of ganglionated plexuses was performed, followed by radiofrequency ablation. Heart rate, sinus node recovery time, Wenckebach cycle length, and atrial-His (AH) interval were measured before and after every radiofrequency pulse. Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used for comparison. Significant shortening of the R-R interval (P=0.0009), Wenckebach cycle length (P=0.0009), and AH intervals (P=0.0014) was observed after ablation. The heart rate elevation was 23.8±12.5%, and the Wenckebach cycle length and AH interval shortening was 18.1±11% and 24.6±19%, respectively. Atropine bolus injection (0.04 mg/kg) did not increase heart rate further. Targeting a single spot of the left side (64% of the patients) or right side (36%) of the interatrial septum was observed to be responsible for ≥80% of the final R-R and AH interval shortening during ablation.


Targeting specific sites of the interatrial septum is followed by an increase in heart rate and atrioventricular nodal conduction properties and might be critical for vagal attenuation. The R-R interval, Wenckebach cycle length, and AH interval shortening, associated with a negative response to atropine, could be considered immediate end points of the procedure.

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