Transesophageal echocardiographically guided atrial transseptal catheterization in patients with normal-sized atria: incidence of complications


Milwaukee Heart Institute of Sinai Samaritan Medical Center


The incidence of cardiac complications from atrial transseptal catheterization has never been quantified in patients with normal-sized atria. Series defining the complication rate are derived from diseased hearts with structural changes that may alter the complication rate of the procedure. The generation of a standardized incidence of perforation in a population of structurally normal atria has important implications. A total of 46 atrial transseptal catheterizations guided by transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) for radiofrequency ablation of left-sided accessory pathways was performed in 42 patients during a 3-year period (1990-1993). Clinical and echocardiographic data were analyzed, with special attention given to TEE reports pre- and post-transseptal catheterization. Only one complication occurred in the 46 procedures (2.2%): a perforation of the left atrium that led to pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade. In a small series of patients with normal sized atria, we have demonstrated that TEE-guided transseptal catheterization in a procedure with a low complication rate.

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