Korean Circ J.  2021 Feb;51(2):143-153. 10.4070/kcj.2020.0323.

Esophageal Thermal Injury after Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation with High-Power (50 Watts) Radiofrequency Energy

  • 1Division of Cardiology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Background and Objective
s: Data regarding the safety of atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation using high-power (50 W) radiofrequency (RF) energy in Asian populations are limited. This study was conducted to evaluate the incidence and pattern of esophageal injury after highpower AF ablation in an Asian cohort.
We searched the prospective AF ablation registry to identify patients who underwent AF ablation with 50 W RF energy using the smart touch surround flow catheter (Biosense Webster, Diamond Bar, CA, USA). Visitag™ (Biosense Webster) was used for lesion annotation with predefined settings of catheter stability (3 mm for 5 seconds) and minimum contact force (50% of time >5 g). All patients underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy at 1 or 3 days after the ablation.
A total of 159 patients (mean age: 63±9 years, male: 69%, paroxysmal AF: 45.3%, persistent AF: 27.7%, long-standing persistent AF: 27.0%) were analyzed. Initially, 26 patients underwent pulmonary vein isolation with 50 W for 5 seconds at each point. The remaining 133 patients underwent prolonged RF duration (anterior 10 seconds and posterior 6 seconds). The incidence rates of esophageal erythema/erosion and superficial ulceration were 1.3% for each type of the lesion. Food stasis, a suggestive finding of gastroparesis, was observed in 25 (15.7%) patients. There were no cases of cardiac tamponade, stroke, or death.
In Asian patients, AF ablations using 50 W resulted in very low rates of mild esophageal complications.


Atrial fibrillation; Complications; Endoscopy; Esophagus; Radiofrequency catheter ablation
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