AV node slow pathway conduction can persist following successful ablation for AV node reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT). We hypothesized that careful examination of AV nodal conduction curves before and after effective AVNRT ablation in patients with persistent slow pathway conduction could shed light on this apparent paradox.Methods and Results
Thirty patients (age 40.9 ± 14.3; 8 male) were included. AV node function curves were created based on pre- and postablation atrial extrastimulus testing. Analysis of slow pathway function curves demonstrated significant decrease in AH for any given coupling interval after ablation (mean difference –68.1 [–94.5, –41.7] P < 0.001), graphically indicated by downward displacement of the curve. In addition, mean slow pathway effective refractory period (ERP) increased from 247.9 ± 36.1 msec to 288.6 ± 56.0 msec (P < 0.001); mean maximum AH interval decreased from 361.3 ± 114.2 msec to 306.9 ± 65.2 msec (P = 0.013); mean difference in minimum and maximum AH interval during slow pathway conduction decreased (from 94.5 ± 75.8 msec to 59.6 ± 46.2 msec (P = 0.016). Finally, mean difference between the fast and slow pathway effective refractory periods, the span of coupling intervals over which slow pathway conduction occurred, decreased (from 113.9 ± 61.4 msec to 63.2 ± 41.5 msec, P = 0.001).Conclusions
Ablation, which successfully eliminates inducible and spontaneous AVNRT in the presence of persistent slow pathway conduction, is associated with significantly altered slow pathway conduction characteristics, indicating the presence of a damaged or different slow pathway after ablation, incapable of sustaining tachycardia.