Esophageal Electrocardiography

Transesophageal electrocardiography and atrial pacing in acute cardiac care: diagnostic and therapeutic value.

Twidale N, Roberts-Thomson P, Tonkin AM Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA. Aust N Z J Med 1989 Feb;19(1):11-5. The utility of transesophageal electrocardiography using a bipolar 'pill electrode' was assessed in 17 consecutive patients with tachycardia presenting to our casualty department. Standard 12-lead electrocardiography showed regular narrow QRS tachycardia in 12 patients, and five patients had wide QRS tachycardia. Esophageal atrial electrogram recordings were obtained in 14 patients (82%), and these were helpful in determining the mechanism of tachycardia in 11 patients (78%). Of these 11, seven patients fulfilled criteria for atrioventricular junctional (AVJ) tachycardia based on measurement of the minimum interval between the onset of ventricular depolarisation and earliest atrial (esophageal) activity. One of these patients had presented with a wide QRS tachycardia. The other four patients were diagnosed as having ventricular tachycardia (VT) following diagnosis of AV dissociation. Atrial overdrive pacing, via the pill electrode, successfully reverted four of the nine patients (44%) with narrow QRS tachycardia but no patient with VT. Esophageal recording during tachycardia is a simple, relatively non-invasive technique which is helpful in suggesting the mechanism of tachycardia both in patients with narrow and wide QRS tachycardia, and may have a therapeutic role in patients with AVJ tachycardia.

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