Transesophageal Cardioversion and Defibrillation

Termination of spontaneous atrial flutter by transesophageal pacing.

Chung DC, Kerr CR, Cooper J. University of British Columbia. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 1987 Sep;10(5):1147-53. Transesophageal atrial pacing using the constant-rate technique was performed in 26 patients presenting with spontaneous atrial flutter (atrial cycle length between 180 and 270 ms). All but one patient had been treated with one or more antiarrhythmic agents (digoxin, quinidine, procainamide, propranolol, verapamil, diltiazem, and propafenone) within the previous 12 hours. Transesophageal atrial pacing at cycle lengths between 80 and 180 ms was successful in terminating atrial flutter in 22 patients: immediate reversion to sinus rhythm in 16, following transient sinus pause in one, following a brief period of atrial fibrillation in three, and following longer periods of atrial fibrillation in another two. No post-conversion ventricular arrhythmia and no other complications were observed. All patients experienced only a mild burning discomfort during the procedure. It is concluded that atrial pacing via the esophagus is a safe and noninvasive technique of terminating spontaneous atrial flutter. The effectiveness of this technique is comparable to endocardial or epicardial atrial pacing.

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