Surgery for atrioventricular node reentry tachycardia: Results with surgical skeletonization of the atrioventricular node and discrete perinodal cryosurgery

Y. Mahomed, R. D. King, D. Zipes, W. M. Miles, L. S. Klein, J. W. Brown, M. Barbero- Marcial, J. L. Cox

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2 Scopus citations


Surgical treatment options for interruption of atrioventricular node reentrant tachycardia include (1) skeletonization of the atrioventricular node by dissecting it from most of its atrial inputs and (2) discrete cryosurgery of the perinodal tissues by applying a series of sequential cryolesions to the atrial tissues immediately adjacent to the atrioventricular node. Both these techniques attempt to interrupt one of the dual atrioventricular node conduction pathways while preserving the other. This report describes 17 consecutive patients who underwent surgical treatment, 10 patients with skeletonization of the atrioventricular node and seven patients with discrete perinodal cryosurgery. There were 10 female and seven male patients and their ages ranged from 28 to 56 years (mean 38). Two of the 17 patients had Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome and their accessory pathways were interrupted before the atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia was ablated. All the procedures were performed in a normothermic beating heart while atrioventricular conduction was monitored closely. In the skeletonization technique, the right atrial septum was mobilized and the atrioventricular node exposed anterior to the tendon of the Todaro. The perinodal cryosurgical procedure was also performed through a right atriotomy and a series of sequential 3 mm cryolesions were placed around the borders of the triangle of Koch on the inferior right atrial septum. There were no operative deaths. Two patients who underwent the skeletonization operation had heart block necessitating pacemaker therapy. At postoperative electrophysiologic study, no echoes or atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia were inducible in any of the 17 patients. All patients have remained free of arrhythmia recurrence and have required no antiarrhythmic therapy after a follow-up of 5 to 28 months (mean 14). In conclusion, both atrioventricular node skeletonization and perinodal cryosurgery successfully ablate atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia; however, perinodal cryosurgery appears to be safer in avoiding heart block, is more easily performed, and is our procedure of choice for the management of medically refractory atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1044
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992


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