Electrophysiology of the atrio-AV nodal inputs and exits in the normal dog heart: Radiofrequency ablation using an epicardial approach

Kenzo Hirao, Benjamin J. Scherlag, Hervé Poty, Kenichiro Otomo, Claudio Tondo, Matthias Antz, Eugene Patterson, Warren M. Jackman, Ralph Lazzara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: We studied the effects of selective and combined ablation of the fast (FP) and slow pathway (SP) on AV and VA conduction in the normal dog heart using a novel epicardial ablation technique. Methods and Results: For FP ablation, radiofrequency current (RFC) was applied to a catheter tip that was held epicardially against the base of the right atrial wall. SP ablation was performed epicardially at the crux of the heart. Twenty-three dogs were assigned to two ablation protocols: FP/SP ablation group (n = 17) and SP/FP ablation group (n = 6). In 12 of 17 dogs, FP ablation prolonged the PR interval (97 ± 10 to 149 ± 22 msec, P <0.005) with no significant change in anterograde Wenckebach cycle length (WBCL). Subsequent SP ablation performed in 8 dogs further prolonged the PR interval and the anterograde WBCL (117 ± 22 to 193 ± 27, P <0.005). Complete AV block was seen in 1 of 8 dogs, whereas complete or high-grade VA block was seen in 6 of 8 dogs. In the SP/FP ablation group, SP ablation significantly increased WBCL with no PR changes. Combined SP/FP ablation in 6 dogs prolonged the PR interval significantly, but no instance of complete AV block was seen. VA block was found in 50% of these cases. Histologic studies revealed that RFC ablation affected the anterior and posterior atrium adjacent to the undamaged AV node and His bundle. Conclusion: Using an epicardial approach, combined ablation of the FP and SP AV nodal inputs can be achieved with an unexpectedly low incidence of complete AV block, although retrograde VA conduction was significantly compromised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)904-915
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Atrioventricular conduction
  • Atrioventricular node
  • Dog heart
  • Radiofrequency ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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