Early Diagnosis and Rescue Pericardiocentesis for Acute Cardiac Tamponade during Radiofrequency Ablation for Arrhythmias. Is Fluoroscopy Enough?


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Abstract

Background:With the number of complex catheter ablation procedures increasing, procedure-related acute cardiac tamponade is encountered more frequently in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. Survival depends on prompt recognition and rescue pericardiocentesis.Objective:The aim of this report was to validate fluoroscopic heart silhouette characteristics associated with cardiac tamponade as a diagnostic method, and evaluate the safety and effectiveness of fluoroscopy-guided pericardiocentesis during catheter ablation.Methods:All cases of acute cardiac tamponade that occurred in the cardiac catheterization laboratory during radiofrequency catheter ablation from March 2004 to November 2009 were reviewed retrospectively.Results:Of 1,832 catheter ablation procedures performed during a 5-year period, 10 (0.55%) were complicated by cardiac tamponade. Fluoroscopic examination confirmed the diagnosis in all 10 patients and demonstrated effusions before hypotension in four patients. All patients were stabilized by fluoroscopy-guided pericardiocentesis with placement of an indwelling catheter and autologous transfusion. The time interval between recognition of cardiac tamponade and completion of pericardiocentesis was 6.0 ± 1.8 minutes (range 3-9 minutes). The mean aspirated blood volume was 437 mL (range 110-1,400 mL), and the mean autotransfused blood volume was 425 mL (range 100-1,384 mL). Surgical repair of the cardiac perforation was needed in one patient. No procedure-related death occurred.Conclusion:A reduction in the excursion of cardiac silhouette on fluoroscopy is an early diagnostic sign of cardiac tamponade during radiofrequency ablation. Fluoroscopy-guided pericardiocentesis is a safe and effective management strategy for cardiac tamponade developed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. (PACE 2011; 9-14)

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