Radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) is an established effective method for the treatment of typical cavo-tricuspid isthmus (CTI)-dependent atrial flutter (AFL). The introduction of 3-dimensional electro-anatomic systems enables RFCA without fluoroscopy (No-X-Ray [NXR]). The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of CTI RFCA during implementation of the NXR approach and the maximum voltage-guided (MVG) technique for ablation of AFL.
Data were obtained from prospective standardized multicenter ablation registry. Consecutive patients with the first RFCA for CTI-dependent AFL were recruited. Two navigation approaches (NXR and fluoroscopy based as low as reasonable achievable [ALARA]) and 2 mapping and ablation techniques (MVG and pull-back technique [PBT]) were assessed. NXR + MVG (n = 164; age: 63.7 ± 9.5; 30% women), NXR + PBT (n = 55; age: 63.9 ± 10.7; 39% women); ALARA + MVG (n = 36; age: 64.2 ± 9.6; 39% women); and ALARA + PBT (n = 205; age: 64.7 ± 9.1; 30% women) were compared, respectively. All groups were simplified with a 2-catheter femoral approach using 8-mm gold tip catheters (Osypka AG, Germany or Biotronik, Germany) with 15 min of observation. The MVG technique was performed using step-by-step application by mapping the largest atrial signals within the CTI.
Bidirectional block in CTI was achieved in 99% of all patients (P = NS, between groups). In NXR + MVG and NXR + PBT groups, the procedure time decreased (45.4 ± 17.6 and 47.2 ± 15.7 min vs. 52.6 ± 23.7 and 59.8 ± 24.0 min, P < .01) as compared to ALARA + MVG and ALARA + PBT subgroups. In NXR + MVG and NXR + PBT groups, 91% and 98% of the procedures were performed with complete elimination of fluoroscopy. The NXR approach was associated with a significant reduction in fluoroscopy exposure (from 0.2 ± 1.1 [NXR + PBT] and 0.3 ± 1.6 [NXR + MVG] to 7.7 ± 6.0 min [ALARA + MVG] and 9.1 ± 7.2 min [ALARA + PBT], P < .001). The total application time significantly decreased in the MVG technique subgroup both in NXR and ALARA (P < .01). No major complications were observed in either groups.
Complete elimination of fluoroscopy is feasible, safe, and effective during RFCA of CTI in almost all AFL patients without cardiac implanted electronic devices. The most optimal method for RFCA of CTI-dependent AFL seems to be MVG; however, it required validation of optimal RFCA's parameters with clinical follow-up.