Because of the value of cryoablation of the atrioventricular (AV) conduction system in the treatment of refractory cardiac rhythm disorders, the anatomic effects of cryoablation on the cardiac conduction system must be defined. In this report we summarize studies done on four patients who had intractable recurrent supraventricular tachyarrhythmias or refractory atrial flutter-fibrillation. They were treated by cryoablation of the AV conduction system and died 8-360 days postoperatively. Serial sections of the AV conduction system were studied. Cryoablation produced lesions that completely destroyed most of the AV node in three cases, the penetrating portion of the His bundle in all four cases, and the branching portion of the His bundle in two cases. The right bundle branch was not involved markedly in any case. The lesions were discrete and sharply delimited; the patient who died 8 days postoperatively had hemorrhage, necrosis and slight inflammatory infiltrate; patients who survived for 49-360 days showed collagen deposition. The AV nodal artery and its branches showed slight to marked intimal thickening in three cases. Small, partly organized thrombi were present just behind the tricuspid valve in two patients. We conclude that cryoablation of the AV conduction system produced discrete cardiac lesions that did not markedly damage the tricuspid valve or aorta.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)