Clinical recurrences after successful accessory pathway ablation: The role of 'dormant' accessory pathways

Michael Schlüter, Riccardo Cappato, Feifan Ouyang, Matthias Antz, Catarina A. Schlüter, Karl Heinz Kuck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dormant Accessory Pathways. Introduction: Recurrence of clinical symptoms after radiofrequency catheter ablation of an accessory atrioventricular pathway (AP) may be due to the late manifestation of an additional AP that was not detected during the initial ablation session. It was the purpose of this study to elucidate the phenomenon of these 'dormant' APs. Methods and Results: Of 1280 consecutive patients who underwent radiofrequency catheter ablation of an AP, 54 patients (4.2%) developed clinical symptoms postablation, necessitating a repeat ablation session. Recurrence of conduction over the AP targeted at the initial ablation session was found in 45 patients, whereas in the other 9 patients (0.7%) the manifestation of a previously unnoticed AP had caused symptom recurrence. Retrospective analysis of the data from these patients ablation sessions revealed that the late manifesting AP was ablated at a site clearly different from that of the initially targeted AP, and that the manifestation of conduction over a previously 'dormant' AP occurred significantly later than the recovery of a presumably ablated AP. Seven (78%) of the 9 'dormant' APs were concealed, and none exhibited decremental conduction properties. Conclusion: The incidence of clinical recurrences mediated by the late manifestation of conduction over a previously 'dormant' AP is low. The lack of an anatomic vicinity of these predominantly concealed APs with the initially targeted AP and the lack of evidence for their presence during the initial ablation session suggest intermittent conduction as the most likely explanation for their late manifestation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1366-1372
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Accessory pathways
  • Catheter ablation
  • Intermittent conduction
  • Recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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