Catheter ablation of tachyarrhythmias in small children
Blaufox, Andrew D (2005) Catheter ablation of tachyarrhythmias in small children. Indian Pacing and Electrophysiology Journal, 5 (1). pp. 51-62. ISSN 0972-6292
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An estimated 80,000-100,000 radiofrequency ablation (RFA) procedures are performed in the United States each year.1 Approximately 1% of these are performed on pediatric patients at centers that contribute data to the Pediatric Radiofrequency Registry.2 Previous reports from this registry have demonstrated that RFA can safely and effectively be performed in pediatric patients.3,4 However, patients weighing less than 15 kg have been identified as being at greater risk for complications.3,4 Consequently, there has been great reluctance to perform RFA in small children such that children weighing less than 15 kg only represent approximately 6% of the pediatric RFA experience2 despite the fact that this age group carries the highest incidence of tachycardia, particularly supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).5 Factors other than the risk of complications contribute to the lower incidence of RFA in this group, including the natural history of the most common tachycardias (SVT), technical issues with RFA in small hearts, and the potential unknown long-term effects of RF applications in the maturing myocardium. Conversely, there are several reasons why ablation may be desirable in small children, including greater difficulties with medical management,6,7,8 the higher risk for hemodynamic compromise during tachycardia in infants with congenital heart disease (CHD), and the inability of these small children to effectively communicate their symptoms thereby making it more likely that their symptoms may go unnoticed until the children become more seriously ill. Before ultimately deciding that catheter ablation is indicated in small children, one must consider which tachycardias are likely to be ablated, the clinical presentation of these tachycardias, alternatives to ablation, the relative potential for success or complications, and modifications of the procedure that might reduce the risk of ablation in this group.
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