Transesophageal Atrial Pacing and Recording in Children and Infants

Transesophageal electroconversion of atrial reentrant tachycardias early or late following surgery for congenital heart disease.

Hessling G, Brockmeier K, Rudiger HJ, Ulmer HE. Abt. Padiatrische Kardiologie Universitatskinderklinik, Heidelberg. Z Kardiol 88(2):97-102, 1999. Atrial reentrant tachycardias (ART) are a potentially life-threatening complication in survivors of congenital heart disease surgery. From July 1993 to December 1997, temporary transesophageal pacing was used to convert 29 tachycardia episodes in 19 patients. At the time of the first tachycardia episode, patients' ages were 1 month to 26 years (mean 9.8 yrs). Time from operation to onset of first tachycardia episode ranged from 1 day to 19 years. Onset was within the first 2 weeks postoperatively in 6 patients and occurred later in 13 patients (1 to 19 years after operation). Postoperative pacemaker implantation had been performed in 2 pts; 17 of 19 pts were receiving antiarrhythmic medication. After placing a quadripolar transesophageal catheter, atrial and ventricular signals were recorded and atrial stimulation performed. Atrial cycle length of tachycardia ranged from 160-380 ms with 1:1 to 4:1 AV conduction. Temporary transesophageal pacing was performed following an algorithm starting with 4 extrastimuli (20 ms below atrial cycle length of tachycardia). Tachycardia terminated in 27 of 29 cases (93%) without complications. In 3 cases, conversion was achieved by pacing after amiodarone 5 mg/kg i.v. After tachycardia conversion, sinus- or pacemaker rhythm was present in 20 cases. In 9 cases atrial fibrillation was recorded; spontaneous conversion to sinus rhythm occurred after a maximum of 3 min (7 cases) or persisted and required direct current cardioversion (2 cases). In conclusion, transesophageal atrial pacing is an effective, relatively noninvasive method for conversion of atrial reentrant tachycardias after operation for congenital heart disease.

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