Value of an old school approach: safety and long-term success of radiofrequency current catheter ablation of atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia in children and young adolescents

  • Henrike Siebels
  • Christian SohnsEmail author
  • Jan-Hendrik Nürnberg
  • Jürgen Siebels
  • Klaus Langes
  • Joachim Hebe



Radiofrequency current energy (RFC) ablation is still considered as the gold standard for atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT). Success-rates for AVNRT ablation vary irrespective of the ablation technology and strategy. This study aimed to access safety, efficacy, and long-term outcome of RFC catheter ablation for the treatment of AVNRT in children and adolescents aged < 19 years with special focus on modulation versus ablation of the AV nodal slow pathway (SP).


A total number of 1143 patients (pts) < 19 years were referred for invasive electrophysiological testing due to paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).


Diagnosis of AVNRT was confirmed in 412 pts, and RFC-guided ablation was attempted in 386 pts (age 13.0 ± 3.5 years). No permanent complications were observed. RFC application resulted in SP-ablation in 171/386 (44.3%) and in SP modulation in 208/386 (53.9%) children, whereas attempts for RFC treatment failed in 7 pts. Follow-up was completed for 396/412 patients (96.1%). Within a mean follow-up period of 54.9 ± 39.7 months, in 51/379 pts (13.5%) AVNRT recurrence was observed. The median time until tachycardia recurrence was 19.5 months. No difference for AVNRT recurrence was found comparing SP ablation versus SP modulation (p > 0.05), whereas the recurrence rate was significantly higher in patients with non-inducible SVT and therefore empiric SP treatment as compared to patients with inducible AVNRT (p = 0.01).


RFC-guided ablation for AVNRT in children and adolescents is safe and leads to an acceptable long-term freedom from recurrences. SP modulation and SP ablation resulted in comparable acute and long-term success rates. Late AVNRT recurrences can occur even after years of freedom from tachycardia-related symptoms.


Atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia Catheter ablation Supraventricular tachycardia 


Compliance with ethical standards

Prior to the procedure, written informed consent was obtained from the patients’ parents or guardian in all cases. The study has been approved by the institutional review board, and all patient information was anonymized.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henrike Siebels
    • 1
  • Christian Sohns
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jan-Hendrik Nürnberg
    • 1
  • Jürgen Siebels
    • 1
  • Klaus Langes
    • 1
  • Joachim Hebe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ElectrophysiologyElectrophysiology Center BremenBremenGermany

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