Catheter-induced mechanical conduction block of right-sided accessory fibers with Mahaim-type preexcitation to guide radiofrequency ablation

Riccardo Cappato, Michael Schlüter, Christian Weiß, Jürgen Siebels, Joachim Hebe, Wolfgang Duckeck, Ralph U. Mletzko, Karl Heinz Kuck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Accessory pathways originating at the tricuspid annulus that exhibit decremental antegrade conduction properties (Mahaim-type preexcitation) are amenable to radiofrequency (RF) current catheter ablation. However, a reliable and reproducible strategy for mapping and ablation of these fibers is lacking. Methods and Results: Eleven patients with preexcited atrioventricular tachycardia involving a decrementally conducting antegrade accessory pathway underwent complete electrophysiological evaluation and subsequent attempts at RF catheter ablation. Mechanical conduction block at the subannular level of the atrial input to the accessory fiber was induced by catheter manipulation in 8 patients, in 2 of them during atrial fibrillation. RF current was delivered, after resumption of preexcitation, to the site of mechanical block during atrial pacing (n=6) or atrial fibrillation (n=2) and eliminated the accessory pathway in all 8 patients. In another patient, mechanical block was not observed, but ablation of the atrial accessory fiber insertion was achieved at the subannular level during atrioventricular tachycardia. The anatomic site of ablation along the tricuspid annulus was anterolateral (n=1), lateral (n=3), or posterolateral (n=5). Failures were encountered in the first patient of the series in whom ablation attempts were directed at the ventricular insertion of the accessory fiber and in a patient in whom ablation of the atrial insertion was attempted at the supra-annular level. Recurrence of preexcitation within 12 hours was observed in 5 of 6 patients in whom ablation had been achieved during atrial pacing. Eventually successful repeat sessions were performed the following day using a simplified ablation approach. Thus, a median of 5 RF pulses (range, 1 to 26) per accessory fiber eliminated conduction in 9 (82%) of the 11 patients in 1.9±0.9 sessions. During a follow-up of 9.5±2.3 months, preexcitation recurred in 1 patient. Conclusions: The atrial origin of accessory connections with Mahaim-type preexcitation is apparently confined to the anterolateral-to-posterolateral region of the tricuspid annulus. Mechanical conduction block in the atrial input to the accessory fiber induced at the subannular level by catheter manipulation provides an optimal marker to locate the ablation site, even during atrial fibrillation. To expose early recurrence of antegrade accessory pathway conduction, intermittent atrial pacing in the 12 hours after ablation is advisable; in cases of recurrence, a repeat procedure can readily be performed using just the ablation catheter advanced to the target site at the tricuspid annulus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-290
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1994


  • ablation
  • conduction
  • Mahaim fibers
  • radiofrequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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