Transesophageal Atrial Pacing and Recording in Children and Infants

Programmed atrial stimulation via the esophagus for management of supraventricular arrhythmias in infants and children.

Rhodes LA, Walsh EP, Saul JP. Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Am J Cardiol 74(4):353-6, 1994. This report describes the use of programmed atrial stimulation via the esophagus to predict the clinical efficacy of various management strategies for supraventricular arrhythmias in infants and children. A total of 203 transesophageal electrophysiologic studies were performed in 132 patients. Therapies evaluated included medications from each antiarrhythmic class, the Valsalva maneuver, follow-up of radiofrequency ablation, and no therapy. The transesophageal technique appeared to be adequate for inducing tachycardia, yielding a low false-negative rate. Overall, the predictive value of a negative study was high (89%), and increased to 96% when stimulation was performed in the presence of isoproterenol. However, the positive predictive value was significantly lower both with (72%, p < 0.00001) and without (60%, p < 0.0001) isoproterenol. These results were due in part to a very low positive predictive value when evaluating either digoxin and/or beta-blocker therapy, 62% vs 82% for the remaining studies. When clinical tachycardia cannot be induced with therapy, transesophageal techniques can be used to predict freedom from many supraventricular tachycardias for most therapies in children. However, induction of tachycardia may not predict treatment failure. Transesophageal pacing to evaluate arrhythmia therapy may be most useful when managing either severe symptoms, multiple recurrences, or the results of radiofrequency ablation.

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