Transesophageal Echocardiography to Guide Pulmonary Vein Mapping and Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation

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This study describes the use and outcomes of transesophageal echocardiography to guide atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation procedures.


Under general anesthesia, 25 patients with a history of AF underwent multiplane transesophageal echocardiography in conjunction with catheter placement under fluoroscopy.


In this series, a combined fluoroscopic/echocardiographic approach obviated the need for angiographic imaging. Anatomic variation in pulmonary veins (PV) was common; the shortest distance between the ostia ranged from 2 to 11 mm. Individual PV diameters did not predict the presence of ectopic foci. The number of radiofrequency pulses delivered per vein was 2.6 ± 2.3 (range: 0–10). Mean fluoroscopy time per procedure was 31 ± 13 minutes and mean procedure time was 110 ± 31 minutes. At follow-up, 68% of patients were free from AF.


Transesophageal echocardiography enables identification and cannulation of the ostia and proximal branches of PV during AF ablation. Fluoroscopy, procedure times, and outcomes compare favorably with series using PV angiography and, as such, suggest that a controlled trial is warranted.

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