Transesophageal Cardioversion and Defibrillation

Transesophageal low-energy synchronous cardioversion of atrial flutter/fibrillation in the dog.

Yamanouchi Y, Kumagai K, Tashiro N, Hiroki T, Arakawa K. Fukuoka University, Japan. Am Heart J 1992 Feb;123(2):417-20. The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility and efficacy of terminating atrial flutter/fibrillation using low-energy synchronous shocks delivered through a transesophageal catheter in dogs with talc-induced pericarditis. Atrial flutter/fibrillation was induced by employing the pulse train method. The minimum effective cardioversion energy level was compared for three different methods--method A, delivery between a distal esophageal electrode and a proximal esophageal electrode; method B, delivery of shocks through a distal esophageal electrode and a plate placed on the chest; method C, transthoracic cardioversion. The minimum effective cardioversion energy level did not differ significantly between methods A and B (1.30 +/- 0.46 joules versus 1.29 +/- 0.35 joules). Transesophageal cardioversion decreased the defibrillation threshold three-to-fourfold from that of conventional transthoracic cardioversion. There were no complications of heart block, ventricular fibrillation, or any pathologic evidence of esophageal injury. Thus transesophageal low-energy synchronous cardioversion is considered a feasible and effective method for the treatment of atrial flutter/fibrillation.

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