Transesophageal Cardioversion and Defibrillation

Transoesophageal low-energy cardioversion of atrial fibrillation. Results with the oesophageal-right atrial lead configuration.

Santini M, Pandozi C, Colivicchi F, Ammirati F, Carmela Scianaro M, Castro A, Lamberti F, Gentilucci G. Department of Cardiology, San Filippo Neri Hospital, Rome, Italy. Eur Heart J 21(10):848-55, 2000. BACKGROUND: Low energy internal cardioversion is a safe and effective procedure to restore sinus rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation refractory to external cardioversion. However the procedure is invasive and fluoroscopy is mandatory. Aim of the study To assess the efficacy, safety and tolerability of a new simplified procedure of low energy internal cardioversion. METHODS: Twenty-five consecutive patients (19 males and 6 females) with persistent atrial fibrillation were submitted to low energy internal cardioversion using a step-up protocol (in steps of 50 V, starting from 300 V). A large surface area lead (cathode) was positioned in the oesophagus, 45 cm from the nasal orifice. A second large surface area lead (anode) was positioned in the right atrium. A quadripolar lead was positioned at the right ventricular apex to achieve ventricular synchronization and back-up pacing. Oesophageal endoscopy was performed within 24 h of the end of the procedure and repeated after 48 h, if injury to the oesophageal mucosa had occurred. RESULTS: Sinus rhythm was restored in 23 patients (92%) with a mean delivered energy of 15.74 J (range 5-27) and a mean impedance of 48 Omega. In two patients, endoscopy revealed that small burns had occurred in the oesophageal mucosa. Such lesions spontaneously healed after 48 h. CONCLUSIONS: This new technique of performing low energy internal cardioversion is effective and safe and avoids the positioning of a lead in the coronary sinus or in the left pulmonary artery, thereby simplifying the procedure.

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